I was beyond excited to finally have the class that was coveted by all MSEL’ers, Engineering. I was ready to have a class that was all hands on work, as I find this the best way to learn. When I learned we would be building chicken coops, I thought about the ones past classes had made and I just thought to myself, “How am I ever gonna figure out how to build that?”
The hands on work allowed me to slowly figure out how to use all the tools and get more comfortable. We talked about floors, roofs, walls, windows, and more. But I still felt overwhelmed with the fact that we were going to actually be building this thing that people would want to buy (hopefully). Once we got into our groups and started making drawings, that’s when it all started to feel more real, and not like something we had just talked about in class.
Many people know my chicken coop as “that giant one” and wonder why it’s so big. I too, wonder how that ended up happening, how our chicken coop ended up being so massive. It sure is challenging to build something that big. We’re way behind all the other groups, but when we finish, ours will definitely be one of the most original.
In building our coop, there has been a lot of setbacks. First off, we lost our drawings, so we had to redraw everything, and also sort of make up the design on the go. We striped heaps of screws on the daily, no matter how hard we try, it always happens. Since our chicken coop is so big, we had to spend a lot of time with the chicken wire, which is extremely tedious. The first time we did it, we didn’t make the wire tight enough so we had to take out ALL of the staples and re-do it! Our floor wasn’t wide enough, and our front door and back wall were both too wide. We had to unscrew our walls and floor, re-cut the wood, and then put them back together. But once we were able to get all 4 walls up, it was so satisfying.
My group has a lot of fun together. Yes, we’ve had a lot of setbacks and made a lot of silly mistakes, but we always have fun together. We always are playing music and are constantly dancing, and we still accomplish all of our daily goals. When a challenge comes up, we are able to stay positive and work through whatever comes our way. Through all of the challenges that we’ve experienced. We have learned so much. We have learned how to handle all of these mistakes, mastered the chop saw, improved our staple gun skills, and we’re able to drill without even thinking about it.
The day that really allowed me to see how much I’d learned, was when a group of 19 Japanese students came to visit our engineering class and assist us in building for the day. At first I was thinking, how are we ever going to get anything done if we have to spend the whole day trying to explain how to use a tool we just figured out how to use? But what I thought would happen didn’t end up being true at all. I was able to teach a student how to use the staple gun (he hardly spoke any English) and my group and I taught the 3 other students how to put on chicken wire. When I noticed I was able to teach someone else how to use a tool that I wouldn’t have known how to use a year ago, the importance of this class and the amount I had learned was really put into perspective for me.
I’m so excited to see how our chicken coop finally turns out. I’m excited to learn about how to make a living roof, because that will definitely be a challenge. People like to comment on how huge our chicken coop is, but I think that makes it more unique, plus the chickens who end up living in that coop will be pretty spoiled with all of that space and the high ceilings.