Summer Course Gives High School Students New Perspective to Engineering

Manchester, Conn., - (July 18, 2008)… For 17 high school students enrolled in the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) college-level introductory engineering course, engineering is much more than solving complex problems. Students are getting a first-hand look into the field and taking a fun and interactive approach to learning the basics of engineering technology.
Project Lead the Way
Students testing the speed of their mousetrap cars.

As part of the course, students are studying various engineering theories including, electrical energy transformation, forces, electrical circuits, mechanisms, robotics, and friction. Through project-based learning, the students have put the theories to practice and have created mousetrap cars.

Students constructed the mousetrap-powered cars with a few simple materials such as balsa wood, metal tubing, CD inserts and, of course, a mousetrap. Through this project, students witnessed the relationship between the energy released by the mousetrap, the forces of friction, and their own construction abilities as they tried to work with limited materials and tools.

Another project as part of the course is creating a marble sorter. This will allow the students to use their creativity to design a machine that can sort marbles by color or by size. In this project, the students will learn about programming, electronic sensors and motors.
Project Lead the Way
Heidi Ojeda, 18, works diligently on her mousetrap car.

“Engineers are problem solvers. Designing, constructing and testing solutions to practical problems is the best way to actually learn the principles of engineering,” stated Chuck Russell, engineering lecturer.

Participating students will earn college credits that can be transferred to any accredited college and university towards a college degree.

“This course really helps us gain college experience and we are getting three college credits- it’s really worth it,” stated Sravya Kotte, 16, a senior at South Windsor High School.

Heidi Ojeda, 18, is a student at West Hill High School in Stamford and enrolled in this summer course to learn the basics of engineering. “Most people in my family study engineering and I wanted to give it a try” stated Ojeda.

Project Lead The Way, Inc. (PLTW) is a national, non-profit organization that promotes engineering courses for both middle and high school students. PLTW forms partnerships among public schools, higher education institutions and the private sector to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists graduating from our education system.

The summer courses are funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing and the Connecticut Community Colleges’ College of Technology.


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Students of any age who possess the desire to pursue higher education are welcome at Manchester Community College. MCC is proud of its academic excellence, new facilities, flexible schedules, small classes, low tuition and faculty with both academic and “real world” credentials. The College offers over 60 programs, transfer options, financial aid and scholarships, as well as access to baccalaureate degrees through guaranteed admissions programs with several universities. MCC is situated on a park-like campus and is easily accessible from I-84.
News Item Posted On: July 18, 2008
For Additional Information Contact: Endia DeCordova-Murphy at (860) 512-2914