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Technological Design
and Engineering:

Design, Problem Solving
and Practical Solutions

I'm happy to receive my Tech Credentials in Ontario from Queens University!


Tech and Engineering are perhaps my favorite courses to teach! I have designed these courses to open the doors to many aspects of the Engineering world for my students.  Students are guided by the Engineering and Design Process and which helps facilitate creative thinking and collaboration skills. Many of the creative tasks students are asked to participate in are competitive "challenges" with gift certificates to the school store given away as prizes.  This helps motivate students while modeling the real-world example of being rewarded for hard work and creative thinking.  During this project-based class, students learn a variety of practical hands-on skills such as how to safely use tools, metalwork, 3D software, and basic automotive care.   Above all, it is my hope that students gain the understanding and confidence that they can overcome any problem or challenge with critical, creative and innovative thinking, combined with hard work and determination. 

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Curriculum and Project Highlights:

Wind Tunnel Challenge: Collaboration with the University of Florida

03/21/22- The Tech and Engineering class collaborated with the University of Florida's Structural Engineering Department on this exciting collaborative project. We worked with Dr. Jeremy A. Magruder Waisome, Ph.D. Instructional Assistant Professor, and Dr. Kurtis Gurley, Ph.D., Associate Director – Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment Professor – Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Students toured the facilities and learned how they work creatively to make buildings and other structures safer. They also toured the wind tunnel and discussed the requirements of our own Wind Tunnel / Structural Design/ Tipping Tower Challenge project.  We worked on this project for two semesters, with second-semester students benefitting from the previous classes' work as they had the chance to analyze the data collected so they may create more efficient structures with better performance.

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Students toured the facilities and learned how they measure hurricane winds and use that information to make stronger structures. Then they had the opportunity to feel hurricane-force winds for themselves in the Wind Tunnel!  


Students participated in the "Tipping Tower Challenge" and designed wooden towers to try to resist hurricane-force winds.

The "Bent-Knee" Prosthetic Leg Challenge!

The Engineering and Design students experienced the "Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Da' feet" during our Prosthetic Leg Challenge! Brittany Stresing, Biomedical Engineer, owner of (and OHS Alumni '04) advised my class as they learned about and constructed their own residual limbs. She was also kind enough to donate a variety of polymers used in her industry for student use. Working in teams of two, students researched, designed, built, tested, and improved their designs for this challenge. 

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Please enjoy these video highlights of the competition.

To learn more about this project, see these .pdf files of the Canvas pages that make up this module:



Landmines: A

Global Threat



Basic Automotive Systems and Maintenance

As one who took auto mechanics classes and worked at an auto parts store when I was in high school, the realization that many students today know absolutely nothing about the cars they drive, motivated me to create this module on basic Automotive Systems and Maintenance.  After a period of classroom study, they pulled up their cars to examine and identify the elements of their electrical, fuel, lubricant, and cooling systems. We also discussed how to safely change a tire and jump-start a car, as well as tire care. I believe in sharing life skills with my students and hope they take away some confidence in their abilities, and knowledge of their vehicles, so if they find themselves in an emergency situation they will know what to do. 

How to Safely
Jumpstart a Car
Tech and Engineering Class is Metal: 
Blacksmithing, Casting and Welding 
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3D Modeling/ Structural Design Projects

3D Printed Truss Design Challenge, weight tested to failure.

We Built a Bridge.  (Really)!
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One of the most important scrolls of Chinese Art is "Spring Festival Along the River".  The scroll depicts a "rainbow" bridge with a unique scissor truss design.  Inspired by that image, we set out to create a bridge of our own. We added an observation deck and extra pillars for safety. We were also very proud of our efforts to beautify the campus.  Our build was even featured in MAKE: Magazine! This was a very rewarding project that still beautifies our campus.

Socially Distanced Seating: Design in the Covid Era

When students returned to in-person classes, they faced a problem.  There was limited seating outside for eating lunch.  The Tech and Engineering class followed the Engineering and Design Process and brainstormed ideas on how they might help.  After discussing various ideas for seating that was designed with "Social Distancing" in mind, they prepared a proposal and pitched it to our administrators to ask for funding. They loved the idea! 


After brainstorming ideas and choosing the most promising designs, students made 3D models of their designs.


A prototype was created for the pitch presentation. The committee of administrators was impressed and agreed to fund the project! This practical project stands as a monument to creativity in the Covid Era.

Taiko Drum Build: The Birth of "Tonka"

Our school is proud to maintain the only high school Taiko drumming ensemble in the Southeastern United States. The centerpiece of a Taiko ensemble is typically a huge Odaiko drum, and this was the only instrument our school’s group, “Tsubasa,” did not have.


After attending the 2015 World Taiko Gathering in Los Angeles to learn more about Taiko, gather information, and meet professional drum makers at the conference, the idea of constructing a drum was born. As a professionally constructed drum this scale can cost more than $25,000, we figured the only way we would ever be able to obtain a drum this size would be to make one ourselves, and the Engineering and Design class would deliver.

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The drum is affectionately called ‘TONKA” from the Lakota word ‘Tatanca’ which means buffalo, (the hides of Florida buffalo were used the create the heads. When mounted on its stand, Tonka tops out at nine feet tall!

It sounds Thunderous!

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Our drum build was also featured in MAKE: Magazine! 

Read the story here or download this .pdf.

Homepage of Engineering and Design Canvas Course Content
(featuring graphically organized modules)

Innovation Course:
A Collaboration with the Co-Accelerator and the
University of Florida's Innovation Program.

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The students and I worked in collaboration with the University of Florida's Innovation Program, the Co-Accelerator Quan and Jasmine Tran, and Terrence Ho on this course.  Students were tasked with utilizing the creative process to research, brainstorm, design, prototype, and pitch a physical product in an attempt to bring it to market. Once they created their prototypes, they ultimately pitched their ideas to a gathering of investors and other entrepreneurs. It was a great experience for the students and for myself as we all learned through the many activities, experiences, and ideas presented during this collaboration. 


Team Building / Creative Thinking Activity:
The Tower Challenge


On the first day of class students were given a set of balsa wood sticks, one glue stick, one foam football, and limited time to work together in small teams to raise the football to the highest level before time runs out. Winners get a gift certificate to the school store. Ready, set, build! 


Technical Skills:

•Web Design

•Video editing

•3D Modeling

•3D Printing.

Students learned technical skills and participated in "MusiCode Kids" where they learned in-demand coding skills.


Sales, Marketing and Fundraising Experience: The Art Yard Sale

As a way to raise funds for class use, the group held an "Art Yard Sale" of donated and abandoned artwork. They had exactly one week to advertise and set up their event and had to practice bargaining and sales skills as they attempted to sell the art for as much money as they could. They learned about suggestive selling and made deals on the fly. Please view the digital commercial they created to advertise the Art Yard Sale.  The funds they raised were put into a club account which gave them the means to develop their prototypes and learn about investing.


They raised over $900!

Financial Planning

With money in the bank, students met with representatives from Koss Olinger Financial Group who discussed personal and business finance, saving, making budgets, the stock market, and investment strategies. Each student then was alloted $50 to open their own actual stock trading account for them to keep so they can begin to actively learn about the market. Students were put in friendly competition with each other to see who can best increase the value of their account by semesters end. Students kept all of the proceeds. This real-world experience encouraged students to understand and become excited about investing while giving them practical financial experience that they can use throughout their lives. 

Students met and worked with local entreprenaurs and business owners to learn more about building and running a business and developing various products. 

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The owner of Gainesville Prosthetics and Opie Software company explains the brainstorming wall, the creative process his employees use to develop ideas.

Meeting Local Business Owners and Entreprenaurs

Pitch Practice

Once students developed prototypes for their product ideas, it was time to learn about the pitch.  ​They worked with and were critiqued by members of the Co-Accelerator program to learn the finer points of pitching ideas to investors.  After much practice and many conquered fears later, they joined other young entrepreneurs from UF's Innovation and the Co-Accelerator program at a public "Pitch Event" held at the local brewery Cypress and Grove to pitch their product ideas before actual investors. It was a great experience.

Pitch of the "MyPlan" to investors at the final pitch event held at Cypress and Grove, Gainesville.

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Pitch of "Ultracide" the UV Toothbrush holder to investors at the final pitch event held at Cypress and Grove, Gainesville.

This class was a great experience for everyone involved!

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