Edison Eagles Enter the World of Engineering

By definition, engineering is designing, building, and using engines and mechanical structures. According to the website, “Types of Engineering Degrees,” there are six major branches aspiring students can pursue with hundreds of fields of engineering below each branch. The students of the Edison High School STEM Academy were able to explore a few of these many fields on February 26, in their second Design Day of the school year.

Engineering Tomorrow, a non-profit organization, works to introduce real-world engineering environments to students from participating high schools, such as our very own Edison High. This program also aims to expand engineering throughout the country and to provide learning opportunities through engineering design challenges. Furthermore, this program employs both real world engineers and engineering students, to spread their passion for engineering to high schoolers. Michelle Blum, a cloud computing engineer, explained, “students should use [the program] to, first of all, get some insight on what students not much older than you have gone through, and to know if the field is really for you.” With this purpose in mind, students were able to speak to engineering students from all different years and disciplines, including chemical engineers, computer engineers, and mechanical engineers.

When Engineering Tomorrow came to Edison High School, our STEM Academy students took part in two engineering design challenges based on computer engineering and explored the contributions this discipline can make to all other fields of engineering. In addition, students were able to interact with engineering-major college students throughout the day, including a Q&A session. 

The first challenge used mathematical principles to adjust catapults so they could launch an object to an exact distance. The students designed equations based on their trial distances and used their equations to find the angle of launch necessary to reach the desired distance, marrying mathematics and physics along with teamwork in a friendly competition. 

The second lesson involved the use of Arduino, a basic microcontroller which helps control multiple devices. Students went through several assembly challenges with the use of the Arduino Starter Kits, learning how to code and make Arduino Circuits. As their final challenge, students used Arduinos and breadboards to create an LED Spaceship. With this lesson, the students learned the ability to cooperate and work between the various grades as upperclassmen helped the underclassmen understand the basics of circuitry. 

All in all, the day was a success as EHS Stem students were able to experiment with a new set of engineering fields that introduced the students to the wide variety of potential fields of engineering.