Pre-Engineering Class showcases Flight Time in Aviation Unit


You are on a balcony or 2nd story overlooking the ground and floor below, and you think about how cool it would be to throw something down to see what happens… be honest, we have all done it. Well, if you find yourself as the engineering type, you might get the chance to do that in class.  

Unity offers a pre-engineering course to juniors and seniors as an introduction to multiple disciplines of the study including mechanical and civil engineering. Throughout the year students learn different methods, techniques and processes of engineering through hands-on projects. Most recently, the group took on the aviation unit. The unit was broken down into 6 major components that the students had to complete in the overall project. The final product was an aviation glider, built to meet certain specifications. Upon completion of these gliders, students tested their success with a test flight. 

To bein, students have to do background research to determine effective methods for flying, different glider styles with the pros and cons of each, and present their findings to the class. Using their research, the students must evaluate a strategy for designing and building a successful glider. They sketch out a rendition of the glider, propose a design, detail a timeline, and provide a material list to build. After developing the concepts, students construct their gliders. Using the 3D printer for the base materials, students are only allowed to use glue to hold the structure together. Plastic bags and light tape are allowed to be added to fill out the wings, but cannot be used to support or hold together the structure of their glider. After building comes the testing and evaluation stage where students practice throwing their gliders. After written assessments of their results, the students are allowed to redesign and make adjustments to their gliders before a 2nd round of testing and observation. Before conducting their final flights, students must present descriptive drawings of the gliders, detailing the dimensions, parts, and 2-3 different angles of the aircraft. 

Finally, the students are ready for the real test to try and see how their engineering marvels will perform. They head up to the track on the 2nd floor overlooking the gymnasium with a tape measure and stop watch in hand to see who will take the longest flight in terms of distance and time. With teacher Dave Vruwink and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Bill Postma looking on, the students give their gliders a go. As the throws begin, a couple gliders dive straight to the floor below; others spin in circles, helicopter-style, to the ground; some make their way down to the floor turning side to side; only a few make a graceful flight, gliding around the gym to the cheers of everyone in the room. 

Once each student has had his chance to throw his glider, Dave Vruwink unveils his glider and heads upstairs for a few throws, hoping to score some points with the students. Needless to say, he does just that with the final throw of the day, as his glider takes a right turn and banks itself into the nearest basketball hoop! 

Check out the YouTube video from the final testing in the link here: Pre-Engineering 1: Aviation Unit- Fall 2017