MarinSEL engineering has been a fun learning experience so far. It is one of my favorite classes not just because we do not have to sit in a desk for hours but also because we get to put our hands to work and create incredible things. I never was told when I was a little kid how fun building could be. I am glad I know now. When I first started MarinSEL in high school I was told about this class from all the upperclassmen who went on and on about how amazing it was including my older sister who had learned a lot in this class. Engineering turned out to be everything I had hoped it would be if not more. Sure, there are definitely some days where I am feeling tired or lazy but overall I am excited and ready to build. There are so many things I like about this class. One is that you get noticeable results from practicing and learning. In my academic classes I may be learning and improving but the only way I can see that is in my letter grade not with any physical proof so it never ends up feeling as satisfying. Another thing I like is being able to design something and go through with it. I have been interested in designing in the past but I never found a time to be able to actually do something with it. Another part of this class that I like is the field trips. One place we went to was Urban Ore in Berkeley to find materials for our chicken coops. They had so many cool things there. We also went to The Away Station in Fairfax which was full of reclaimed materials for us to use. A field trip we have coming up that I am extremely excited for is Goatlandia. We will be building play structures for goats! That’s like the cutest thing ever. Not only that but the lady who wants us to build will make us food so it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to. There is just so much to do in this class I don’t think i could ever get bored.

Team builds a wall

The first project we worked on in the beginning of the school year was the spoon project. Although it was just a small project I actually enjoyed it very much. It was a fun way to slowly introduce me to all the tools both big and small. I was kind of scared of all the saws in the beginning and still am with some but I’m slowly getting more comfortable around everything. I enjoyed making the spoon because it was a more creative yet not too difficult task to do. I would love to do it again now and see how much better i could pull it off.


Cutting checking wire with a grinder

The big project we are currently working on is our chicken coops. My coop group is Sophia, Katie, Lizzi and I. We’ve been doing a pretty good job so far. I think the one thing we struggle with the most is measurements. Sometimes we may think we have it right but then it turns out to be wrong. Luckily we all work hard and care about how it will turn out in the end so we make sure to take our time and get it all right. I’m looking forward to seeing what our group has accomplished at the end of the year.  

My goal for this year is to just become comfortable around all the tools and eventually skilled enough to build outside of this class without needing help on almost everything. I still have to learn the names of most of the tools but I’m sure with all the building we’ll be doing throughout the rest of the year that I’ll get it all down. I hope that I’ll get more chances after this class is over to continue building. Maybe I’ll do an internship or take some classes outside of Terra Linda but either way I don’t want to forget the skills I’ve gotten from this experience.

Wall has been framed an is ready to install


  1. Natasha, the skills that we have learned in this class are definitely life skills and I think that they shouldn’t be forgotten. Keep up the good work. I am excited to see your finished coop.

  2. Great blog! My group can totally relate to the measurement problems because we’ve had to rebuild a lot of put walls and doors. I can also relate to being excited about the class because my brother also took the class and absolutely loved it. The spoon project was super fun and I’m happy you’re loving the class!

  3. I can relate with your group’s struggle, we had a huge problem with our walls being too small. I also understand your goal of becoming proficient and confident with all the tools, big and small. I took engineering as a non-Msel elective last year, and spent most of the class working up the confidence to not have a heart attack when using the band saw.

  4. Your right about being able to see how what you have learned has paid off. Its not just a grade, its real life experience. You would be soooo goood in a designing internship or job! It fits your creativity and quirkyness 🙂

  5. Like you mentioned, I love how different this class is compared to our other classes. I also can’t wait for Goatlandia and by then I hope to also improve on my accuracy with measurements, and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only person with those problems.

  6. I can relate to having difficulty figuring out the measurements and having to redo things my group and I thought were correct, but it is so satifying to look back when you finally get something right and think, “Wow, I built that.”. This was a very well written blog I’m so proud of you!

  7. Well written Natasha! Building is definitely one of those strange yet incredibly useful skills not many people choose to take up, I’m grateful that we as a class have had the opportunity to be introduced to building and engineering. Darn measuring, I’m sure we will be measuring masters by the end of the year!

  8. Awesome blog and really cute pictures Natasha! Don’t worry everyone struggles with measurements, its probably the hardest part about building. I also can’t wait for our Goatlandia field trip (and the food), and I can’t wait to see your sick chicken coop!

  9. This post is so relatable Natasha! My group has had to disassemble our walls more than once (on the same wall too!) to re-cut the studs because someone (me) forgot to include the width of the boards. Wonderful pictures, keep going!

  10. Absolutely! Its hard to imagine what the outcome will be at the end of the year, but I know that yours will look lovey! I hate measuring too… but at least we have practice (the ruler game… ahhhh). Anyway, I love your design and your group is a mighty one! Can’t wait to see the finished coop!

  11. Good job on your blog. I can agree that this class is so much fun because we are so active. I am so excited to see how our chicken coops turn out in the end. Your spoon was defiently one of the best.

  12. I really liked how you mentioned little things that didn’t go too well, it shows how much you have grown in the class! I know by the end of the year you will be so good at building. With your creative eye and the skills that you will have, you will be able to make some really cool things!

  13. Building the play structures for goats (and getting food) is definitely something I’m looking forward to too. I also agree that it’s satisfying to actually see how much practice with the tools and stuff makes us improve.

  14. Oh my lord do we struggle with measurements haha. I think it’s so true that this is one of the only classes that we can actually see how much we’ve improved. You should definetly look into a designing career if your’e interested in that because you’re so good at it!

  15. I’m so excited for Goatlandia too!! The food part of it is totally a plus. I agree with you about the fact that this class is great because we’re super active in it. Also your spoon was definitely one of the coolest ones made!

  16. Great Job on your blog Natasha! I loved reading about your view on the class and I definitely agree with you that it’s one of your favorite classes. I also like your end goal for the class and I can’t wait to see what your chicken coop looks like in the end!

  17. I agree that this class has given me so many fun and memorable experiences. It is also my favorite class too and love the fact that we get to work hands on and we don’t have to sit at a desk. I can’t wait to see your coop in the end. You will do great and I think you will be like your sister and become a boss at the power drill.

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