Join Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy for an in-depth discussion in this video Bella Darke: Student, part of Project-Based Learning: STEM to STEAM.
Bella Darke: Hi, my name is Bella Darke, I'm a junior at Dos Pueblos and I love volunteering at the Dream Foundation, and I'm working on a project for Mary's Meals. Bella Darke: I decided to enroll or apply for the engineering academy because not only has math and science also, always intrigued me. But I love being able to combine the art aspect into everything I do because, I love being creative and using that and not just doing the normal math classes and the normal physics classes with just written analysis that most other classes on campus offer.
Bella Darke: This year we're working on a kinetic sculpture which is basically a moving murray design with a light up background. It involves so many different aspects. It involves soldering and circuitry and computer aided design. The art aspect is huge because the main piece is artistic, it involves machining, high levels of machining. High levels, higher levels of programming, we're working with not only lights, like we did last year, but now motion too. So we're talking about rotational motion and gear ratios and pulleys and transmissions.
It's, basically using a lot of skills that we've learned in sophomore and freshman year, but on a higher level and a more intricated away. Again in the same project based learning, where we're working on one project each year. Bella Darke: It's very different than other classes. The way we learn is in a rotation system, so we're spending ten days in either physics, art and design, machining, or computer programming. So, just that in itself is different because it's using all the integrated things working on one project.
You're not just learning physics to do equations, your learning physics to apply it to the design you created yourself, or your programming something that you actually had the idea for. Your machining something for your own project, for me it's a lot better way to learn knowledge because, or to learn more because you're not, you know working on some ambiguous concept you're never actually see come into fruition. Bella Darke: The most challenging part I think is machining. I, I love the art aspect, and I love the programming, but machining is hard just because I'm working with things that I, I'd never, you know, before freshman year, I've never seen or heard about, or even touched before.
So just learning to be comfortable with such a big operating, moving piece and just, you know, steady and learning how to read on the schematics or the print, the, the con, part drawings that they give us. Knowing tolerance and all of that and just knowing that if you mess up you don't get to go back. Bella Darke: I would recommend this program whole heartedly to anyone who's interested in the subjects that we're teaching and we're learning about in the academy, because if you have a passion about that and you get interested in that, this is a perfect way to really go deeper into the subject that you love.
And not even if you're only interested in engineering, you can be interested in many different aspects, but it's going to give you skills that you're going to use well after high school. The way the teachers talk to you, the way you're interacting with your peers, working, you know, in a team, is so valuable to anyone who's really interested in this kind of stuff. Bella Darke: The interactions between the peers and the teachers in the Engineering Academy is so unique in a high school, and especially in a public school setting because they are working one-on-one, they're so passionate about their field, right? There not just, we have different teachers for the physics, in the, the computer science and the design so each, each teacher is so passionate about what they do.
And the way that the students are able to work with them is much more real life and much more applicable to a job you might later have because they're not just writing stuff on the board and you're taking notes. You're talking about something, you're, you know, even arguing about a concept that you may, might be learning about. The, the art teacher gives you really good pointers on your design and how to make it more, aesthetically pleasing. The machine shop teacher is walking around in the machines, telling you what to do. So, it's a very hands-on, personal relationship that, that helps all the students I think because, I don't, I don't know any student that's going to benefit more from a teacher that's very non-personal and just writing stuff on the board compared to here.
I think it's, I think everyone really benefits from it. Bella Darke: Mens by being able to work with people in a much more professional way. Because, the, the nature of the projects is such that you need to be able to communicate your ideas really effectively with either a teacher, or a peer, or or a visitor, right about what you're talking about, so it's giving me the knowledge to be able to share what we're doing here with other people. And it's also, just given me, confidence in knowing, you know, really knowing what we're learning and instead of just cramming before a test or running out and then when someone asks you on the street, hey, like what does this mean? You have no idea, you really are, you know every aspect of the thing your working on, and I just thing it gives you a real life person you know, skills, being able to work with people and work with teachers.
Bella Darke: You know, this is what I want to do right now. I don't know if it's necessarily going to stay the same, but right now I'm really interested in biomedical engineering. I've been researching some of the, the courses that go under that category at colleges, and they all seem so, so very interesting, and there is such a wide variety of, of jobs and research projects that you could be doing that if you get, you study that in college. Again, you know, it might totally change by senior year, but definitely I'm interested in that be, because of what I was learning in the engineering academy, learning about the science and the physics.
And it's just getting me excited about having the opportunity to work on these amazing, cutting edge projects in the future. Bella Darke: A story that I'd love to share about my experience, is probably this year actually the beginning of the year I had been working on a lot of different designs for our, kinetic sculpture so, it's basically one pattern that's been flipped and the way it interacts with itself it creates this beautiful mesmerizing display. So each student creates their own one of a kind design that's then machined on the CNC and made, and I was working on it and I was working on it, and I had these different ideas and then I was able to go into the computer lab.
And create it on SolidWorks and I created my design, the one I had chosen to do first, and the one I made the motion setting when I was actually able to, computer, see it on the computer how it would look in real life. I fell in love with it, and I just absolutely loved it and I just can't wait to see it come to fruition and really. And come lit up but with the LEDs and in the, the discs that were, actually manufacturing right now, this week they're actually being made and I just was so excited that one of my designs looked so cool and I was able to see it really interact and come to life.
So, that made me really excited.
When you're done watching the documentary, make sure to check out the bonus conversations in the Interviews chapter.