PLTW Core Training Challenge Contest Winner: Helena Sullivan

Over the summer, Project Lead The Way (PLTW) held a contest in which participants submitted blog posts detailing their Core Training experiences. Below is an entry by one of our three contest winners. Enjoy!

I attended the Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA) course in June and the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) course in July, and I feel each contained so many excellent lessons and learning objectives. I am excited to share all I learned with my students and help them tackle the activities by describing where I struggled and what I did to overcome those obstacles.

In my CEA course, I was buried trying to keep up with, on average, four assignments due daily, and I felt like I was back in my college days, working late nights on engineering homework.

Our activities included building a small-scale architectural model, drawing concept plans, and providing beam- and roof-design calculations for a commercial library redevelopment project. We were partnered in pairs and asked to do a presentation of the redesign, which mimics a true architectural submittal to a municipal agency or community. This truly provides students with an excellent concept of how engineers and architects interact with their clients and design teams. I am glad to have gained skills in using Revit, which is an industry standard.

At CIM, we constructed VEX projects with some given objectives and parameters – our first project required building and programming a small-scale automated conveyor belt, which had to stop and start automatically. I loved learning how to maneuver and program a tabletop robot with the laptop software. We also used a tabletop CNC mill to produce a container base and lid, which, in my case, was a little skewed, but this just helps to reinforce with my students that practice makes perfect!

I am very grateful I dedicated a month of my summer to the PLTW Core Training, where under the leadership of experienced PLTW Teachers, I successfully tackled the challenges for CEA and CIM. I feel teaching these courses is my dream job and look forward to being a better and more well-rounded teacher after my first year of teaching is completed. I am sure my students will challenge me throughout the year, but I am confident I can help and encourage them to find answers or provide resources to guide them to becoming excellent engineers.