Gateway to Technology III – Rapid Prototyping Syllabus

The great mushroom hunter

The great mushroom hunter

“In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.” ~Hugh Walpole

Learner-in-Chief: Philip McIntosh


Blog: Mister McIntosh Says

Curriculum: Custom Course Designed by Mr. McIntosh

Required Materials: Bound grid (graph) notebook, pencil or pen, iPad.

Introduction: Welcome to Gateway to Technology III, an electromechanical design and build class for 8th grade. This is the second year for this elective at Challenger Middle school and we are very excited to bring it to you. Please contact me by email with any questions or concerns you may have. If email doesn’t get it done, I will call you. I welcome visitors in the classroom so parents are encouraged to come see what we are doing at any time. My door is almost always open.

Class Rules: The class rules are simple.

1) Be nice

2) Try hard

3) Help others

4) Be safe

5) Be brave

Curriculum: The purpose of this course is to introduce students to a range of technologies that will enable them to realize their own inventions. It is an introduction to the engineering design process and includes both virtual and physical modeling components.

The course is divided into two parts. The first part is a short course on electronics, mechanics and assembly processes used in prototyping new designs. The second part of the course brings together everything learned in the first part, to design and create a programmable robotic machine that is fabricated using fused deposition modeling (FDM) more commonly known as 3D printing.

Part A – Electromechanics

Unit A1 Introduction to Electronics.

Unit A2 Basic Mechanics

Unit A3 Electronic Assembly

Unit 1.4. Programmable Microcontrollers (Arduino)

Part B – Design and Fabrication

Unit B1 Design

Unit B2 Computer Modeling

Unit B3 Fused Deposition Modeling

Unit B4. Machine Design

The curriculum is is iPad friendly. However, the main software tools we use, Autodesk Inventor 15, a powerful professional grade parametric modeling application is Windows only, and the Arduino microcontroller programming environment is Windows/Mac/Linux only so students will have to adapt to storing and moving their work around between different places (Google Docs, iPad, ALEC).

Learner Responsibilities: Assignments are posted on ALEC. Grades are posted in Infinite Campus. This year the course is paperless and all assignments will be turned in on the learning management system ALEC (our local custom installation of Moodle). Depending on the assignment, the required turn-in documents may be a PDF or a photo.

Note: I do not use Showbie and have no plans to until it interfaces seamlessly with Infinite Campus.

Learners are more than welcome to work with paper pen and pencil, but all assignments will be turned in electronically.

There won’t be much homework in this class because of the specialized software and equipment we use. But, assignments will have due dates. Please set up a planner section for the course so you can keep track of your work and plan accordingly. If you cannot complete the required work in class, you should plan on getting a pass from me to come and continue during Cheetah Time (home room).

Please check Infinite Campus often to plan your work, set goals, and assess your progress. There is some flexibility with respect to when things need to get done. If you start to fall behind and are not seeking help, I will enter LATE and then MISSING in the grade book (which is included as a zero for your current grade calculation) for uncompleted assignments. This sends a message home that you are not doing your part.


21st Century Skills: 10%. This grade is based on the timeliness of your submissions. For the purposes of this grade, work completed on time earns 2 points, late work is assigned 1 point and missing work nets a 0.  All those additional points are then added up and factored into the overall grade.

Classwork: 65%. This is where most of the points are made. Since this is a project-based learning class, do your best on the projects and you should be able to snag most of these points. If your work does not yield as many points as you want it to, you may redo things to improve.

Quizzes: 10%. A series of on-line quizzes make up the basis of this grade. Grading is automated. You get the best score out of a maximum of four attempts on each quiz (no resets).

Other Assessments: 15%. This is a little up in the air at this point, but the plan is to have some written or practical assessments that are not done on-line. These are what you might call “tests.”

As you can see, you have to do well on the classwork assignments to get a passing grade. All you have to do is try hard, and learn from and correct your mistakes until understanding is achieved.

There is no extra credit. There is plenty of regular credit available. HOWEVER, if you are done will all the assigned work, you may be allowed to work on other projects that interest you with teacher approval.

I’m looking forward to a great year. See you in class!

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