Engineering Classes

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, The Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools has started a 4-year Engineering Academy. The goal of the program is to give any student that completes the program a vast head start into an engineering field at the collegiate level or an immediate position into an entry level manufacturing position. We want to stress that this program is not just for those going into college but also those that want to become career ready and obtain employment upon leaving high school. After the first year of the program, students will become certified in SolidWorks, the software industry standard for designing and developing in the engineering and manufacturing fields.

We have recently acquired a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Mill through various grant money, and we will be taking advantage of this great machine in our engineering classes, STEM guitar building, and robotics competitions. We also have two 3D printers that the students will be utilizing as well. In the coming years, we are looking to add on additional equipment such as a laser engraver and CNC router with a goal of giving our students the complete engineering experience.

Engineering 1: Engineering Design

This class is a full year course providing an in-depth exploration of solid modeling using SolidWorks, along with an introduction to the Engineering Design Process. SolidWorks 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) software provides engineers, designers, and manufacturers with advanced tools to create, validate, communicate and manage product designs. With over 4.7 million users, SolidWorks is the preferred 3D design and manufacturing choice for global enterprises, small & medium businesses and entrepreneurs. Students will develop a proficiency in using SolidWorks to model parts of varying complexity, create assemblies to model mechanisms, and produce sets of engineering drawings. After students receive their Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA), students will be able to put their skills and creativity to the test by having access to our 3D printers and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine. The students are able to design whatever they want in SolidWorks and make their designs with our equipment. This is similar to a Fab Lab where students are able to fabricate anything they want.

Course Content:

Engineering Design Process

  1. Ideate
  2. Implement
  3. Test


  1. Starting SolidWorks
  2. Introduction to Drawing Concepts
  3. Introduction to Sketching
  4. Basic Part Design
  5. Introduction to Drawings
  6. Intermediate Part Design
  7. Introduction to Assembly Design
  8. Modeling Physical Systems
  9. Preparing for the Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA) – Academic Exam

Fab Lab

  1. 3D Printing Backround
  2. Makerbot
  3. Design and Print Custom Part
  4. 2018 SolidWorks CAM
  5. Design and Cut Custom Part

Engineering 2: Programming

This class is a full year course that utilizes Python and ROBOTC programming languages. The first half of the year, we will be focusing on Python as we were excepted into the Amazon Future Engineer program. This is the best programming language out there right now that many top businesses such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Netflix, Dropbox, and Reddit use. This course is designed to offer an introduction to computer science. Students will learn the basics of computer programming along with the basics of computer science. The material emphasizes computational thinking and helps develop the ability to solve complex problems. This course covers the basic building blocks of programming along with other central elements of computer science. It gives a foundation in the tools used in computer science and prepares students for further study in computer science, including AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A courses.

The second half of the year, we will be using ROBOTC, which is a more complex programming language to program our VEX Robots. Users learn key skills that easily transition to the real world, industry standard C-Programming languages used by professional engineers and computer scientists. ROBOTC has a similar look and feel as the programming environments used in the computer science industries, but also includes many useful tools that help beginner programmers to get up and running as quickly as possible:

  • All new Graphical Natural Language editor to easily program VEX IQ and VEX EDR robots.
  • Graphical Natural Language mode allows beginners to use simplified commands such as “Forward”, “LineTrack”, and “Repeat” loops.
  • The easy to use ROBOTC editor includes smart code indenting, automatic code completion, code formatting, and other tools to make programming even easier
  • Program robots using industry standard C-programming

ROBOTC’s real-time debugger allows users to run code line-by-line and monitor values on sensors, motors, and encoders in real time.

Course Content:

Semester 1: Python

Unit 1: Beginning in Computer Science

  1. Welcome
  2. What is Computer Science?
  3. Using Python – Installing and online IDE
  4. First Program
  5. Hardware Basics
  6. Output
  7. Input
  8. Data Types and Variables
  9. Analog vs. Digital
  10. Bits and Pieces – Understanding Binary
  11. Career Connection – Who Uses Computer Science? Assignment:   Silly Sentences
  12. Supplemental Activities (available in Teacher Packet only):
  • More ASCII Art
  • More Input Practice Problems
  • What Is a Computer – Project

Unit 2: Number Calculations and Data

  1. Computer History
  2. Basic Calculations
  3. Modular Division
  4. Built-in Functions
  5. Random Numbers
  6. Color Code Lesson
  7. Big Data
  8. Working with a Real Data Set
  9. Career Connection – Data Scientists
  10. Assignment:Room Area
  11. Supplemental Activities (available in Teacher Packet only):
  • Modular Division Practice Problems
  • Practice Calculations

Unit 3: Making Decisions

  1. Max and Min
  2. Simple If’s
  3. Booleans
  4. If – Else
  5. Else – If
  6. Defining Algorithms
  7. Algorithm Challenge
  8. History – Turing Machines
  9. Career Connection – Computer Science in Medicine
  10. Assignment: Chatbot
  11. Supplemental Activities (available in Teacher Packet only):
  • Basic If-Then Statement Practice Exercises

Unit 4: Repetition and Loops

  1. Loops
  2. Count Variables
  3. Two Ways to End a Loop Lesson 4: Data Revisited
  4. Connection – Games with a Purpose (GWAP)
  5. Making a Game
  6. Internet – Cybersecurity
  7. Career Connection – Game Developers
  8. Assignment: Student Schedule
  9. Supplemental Activities (available in Teacher Packet only):
  • Practice Loops Worksheet

Unit 5: Graphics

  1. Color Revisited
  2. X & Y coordinates
  3. Lines
  4. Draw a House
  5. Circles
  6. Emoticons
  7. Kaleidoscope
  8. Animation
  9. History of Movies
  10. Career Connection – Computer Science in Entertainment
  11. Assignment: Animation
  12. Supplemental Activities (available in Teacher Packet only):
  • Practice Line Drawings


Semester 2: ROBOTC

  1. Introduction to Programming
  2. Introduction to the VEX Cortex Hardware
  3. VEX Cortex System Configuration
  4. Moving Forward
  5. Speed and Direction
  6. Shaft Encoders
  7. Automated Straightening
  8. Joystick Mapping
  9. Timers
  10. Buttons
  11. Limiting the Arm
  12. Behaviors and Functions
  13. Forward Until Near the Ultrasonic Rangefinder
  14. Line Tracking

Engineering 3: Engineering Instrumentation and Analysis

This class is a full year course that introduces students to major fields of engineering through 5 units that feature research and/or design projects focused on specific engineering disciplines. Through the projects, students become familiar with standard engineering instrumentation used to acquire data, various strategies and tools used for analyzing data, and fundamental concepts from each of the engineering disciplines that is investigated. Technical communication (oral and written) is taught at the beginning of the course and emphasized throughout the remainder of the course.

Course Content:

  1. Effective Communication and Public Talking
  2. Introduction to Data Analysis
  3. Effective Communication and Technical Writing
  4. Basic Material Properties
  5. Truss Analysis & Design
  6. Digital Signal Processing
  7. Digital Imaging
  8. Electrical Circuits
  9. Analog Sensors
  10. Kinematics & Energy Transfer

Engineering 4: Engineering Design and Entrepreneurship

This class is a full year course that is equal parts business/entrepreneurship and engineering design. Students learn basic principles of business and entrepreneurship, including project management tools and agile development. These concepts are then integrated into multiple engineering design projects in which students work in teams to design and prototype new products. During the second semester, each team is also tasked with building a company around the product and developing a marketing plan and website.