The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

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Engineering-oriented students design mini golf course

A+group+of+students+diligently+work+together+to+create+a+mini+golf+course.+Students+all+over+the+school+will+be+able+to+play+on+it+during+lunch+very+soon.+
Photo Courtesy of Alexander Swindell
A group of students diligently work together to create a mini golf course. Students all over the school will be able to play on it during lunch very soon.

At the halfway point of the first semester of the school year, major projects and assignments are already up in the air for students to complete. In the Technological and Design class at Wakefield, there is a unique project testing the student’s critical thinking skills. These future engineers must plan and construct a space-themed mini golf course consisting of one singular end hole that the person playing has to reach in order to win. 

“Our [golf project] is a little trip through space,” junior Paige McCollough said. “It’s going to go around a planet, down through some aliens and through asteroids.”  

The technology class itself consists of three levels, each building on top of the other with new material and concepts. This specific course is the second level, adding more to the basics of engineering, building processes and problem solving. Students are also given more freedom to explore individual areas they are interested in as a possible career path, whether that is a specific engineering profession or the tech field. 

This project aims to be one vast golf course with multiple groups of students each responsible for creating their own part of it. The students must first sketch out their designs and then construct their part of the mini golf course specifically following their schematics. 

JoAnn Richardson is the technology, engineering and design teacher who is overlooking all of her students’ progress. She watches everyone work as a team toward a common goal.

“[The whole class is] working as a research development team,” Richardson said. “At the end of this, they [will] all come back together and form it all into one piece.” 

Students are hand-building this mini golf course with the help of several tools, objects and their classmates. 

Last year I had a group that had a theme of Harry Potter, and they actually created an entire quidditch field and the goal was to get the ball into the quidditch hole.

— Richardson

“We are using wood, cardboard and cups,” senior Princess Lucero said. “It’s all cut out and put into pieces for us to use on the course.”

Not only is this project enabling students to showcase their creativity, but also testing their mathematical concepts; such as geometric angles and the ability to apply it to create solutions if any problems were to arise. 

Alex Swindell is a senior who is partaking in this project, elaborating on the obstacles that came up in his group.

“In our design, we had a sphere-like shape to resemble a comet and we realized that it’s hard to make spheres out of cardboard and wood, so that was a [challenge] we had to deal with,” Swindell said.

A mechanical element must also be implemented in the projects, driving students to think outside the box. Richardson’s previous students have done this project before and have thoroughly enjoyed it, with each mini group of students creating a final product.

“Last year I had a group that had a theme of Harry Potter, and they actually created an entire quidditch field and the goal was to get the ball into the quidditch hole,” Richardson said. “There were dementors moving across the field as one of their obstacles and mechanical elements, which was really creative, well-built and [well] executed.”

As for the timeline of this project, these students have been extensively working on it for over three weeks. The final due date is still unclear as it is dependent on when everyone will finish their part. Afterwards, there will be a P.A.C.K. Time activity created for anyone to sign up, try out the golf course and give feedback. 

It can be rewarding to gradually see a mental vision come to reality, but it won’t be long until students will be able to play on this finished course with their friends.

“It’s been fun because we get to collaborate in groups and work together to figure out the details and actually build it,” Swindell said. “I also find it really fun to slowly piece it together over time because you have this vision in mind beforehand and it takes forever to see it in real life, but now we are finally almost done with it.”

 

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