Girls Strive for Excellence in Engineering!

Jenna Kim is involved in tennis, choir, and of course, anything STEM-related. She partakes in community service at her church and enjoys drawing, painting, coding, and writing in her free time. So far, she loves high school and looks forward to a career in engineering.

Janine Dias enjoys coding, learning, and solving problems. She also likes reading, drawing, and playing soccer and basketball. She wants to be an engineer in the future. 

Claire Hackl is a freshman in high school and is having a great time! She is in the marching band and jazz band, and she has done cross country, track, and basketball throughout the year. Her favorite subject in school is math, and she wants to learn more about coding!

Hello! This is Jenna Kim, Janine Dias, and Claire Hackl! We are 9th graders at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois. Currently, we are taking Introduction to Engineering Design and honors physics. Our freshman year has been such a wonderful experience for us! Here are some insights into what we’ve been up to.

Reflecting on Our Work

Reflections and videos are very important to enhancing our learning process. During each unit, our teacher, Mr. Sinde, encourages us to document our work, whether that be through photos or videos (or both!). We can share our progress through Twitter and through our blogs. Before we joined PLTW, we hadn't really given blogging much thought. Now that we each have our own, we think it's a brilliant, fun way to express ourselves.

We can use our blogs to reflect upon each project that we do. Reflections are an ingenious way to truly evaluate your learning. When we write our reflections, we have to stop and think to ourselves: Where did we struggle during this unit? When did we thrive? What parts did we enjoy the most? What parts did we enjoy the least? The process of reflecting is helpful not only for the student, but also for the teacher as well.

Videos are beneficial because whenever we are recording one, we're sure to be on task the whole time. Also, they are one of the only ways one can truly experience our process of thinking and what occurs to achieve our goals.

Embracing the Design Process

PLTW is an honors elective, meaning it definitely has its challenges. There are several occasions when we did not understand something, or we completed a task incorrectly. Instead of getting flustered, we realized that that method of going about things wasn't going to get us anywhere. 

PLTW is about problem solving! It's about using the design process, which is not linear. If something isn't going our way, we must somehow manipulate the situation so that it does go our way. Even our parents claim we have developed a more "problem-solving" attitude now that we've taken the elective for more than a semester. In the future, we will most certainly have this mentality. We will do our best not to get frustrated, and instead keep a clear mind and trudge forward until we reach a solution.

Learning While Building Community

PLTW has taught us so much: not just how to be an engineer, or how to create a multiview sketch. It has, and is, preparing us for whatever career we want to pursue. 

At the beginning of the year, we were most definitely nervous. Mainly, we just didn't know what to expect. After a while, we were pleasantly surprised! 

We learned problem solving isn't something one should go through alone! We enjoy the community aspect of the PLTW classroom. Everyone generates concepts and converses together.

Our Advice for Future PLTW Students

Our advice for future PLTW students is that you shouldn't be intimidated by the fact that this is a more challenging course. Especially all the girls out there! Just because the course focuses on engineering principles doesn't necessarily mean we have to be engineers. Anyone can be a problem solver, and we mean anyone!

We encourage everyone to partake in this course, as it is heavily rewarding!

As a final note, be sure to check out our blogs and social channels to learn more:

  • Jenna’s YouTube channel is here, and her blog is here!
  • Janine’s YouTube channel is here, and her blog is here!
  • Claire’s YouTube channel is here, and her blog is here!

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.