International students now can learn how to use professional engineering softwares in US high schools
Engineers are well known for their creativity and imagination. But have you ever wondered how engineers can create such increasingly fascinating products, from a flying piece of jewelry, or a robot pet dog for Jeff Bezos? How do engineers materialize their designs from just a simple idea in their imagination?
In addition to solving the mechanical principles behind each design, engineers need to draw many blueprints to accurately visualize the design or product. Engineers’ favorite drawing software are Auto CAD (2D drawing) and SolidWorks (3D drawing), which are also the compulsory classes for engineering majors in American universities.
While these softwares can look complicated and intimidating for beginners, the good news is now students can take classes in high school to master these softwares, which provide huge advantages when it comes to college admissions. For example, Red Bank Catholic High School, located in Red Bank, New Jersey, offers a series of engineering courses that help students develop practical skills, including both graphic designs and manufacturing knowledge in the curriculum.
Freshman and sophomores at Red Bank Catholic can take STEM Introduction I and STEM Introduction II, from which they can learn the basics of engineering knowledge, understand the cutting-edge dynamics of circuit design and engineering manufacturing, and turn simple electronic components into challenging design projects.
Students who love engineering can advance to Intro to Engineering, Honors Intro to Engineering, as well as more challenging courses such as CADD: 3D Design and Engineering and CADD II. The CADD course in particular focuses on the application of drawing software. Every student needs to learn to how to measure and import the measurement data into Auto CADD or SolidWorks to generate a blueprint for their design project.
In addition to being equipped with computers and professional drawing software, the engineering classroom of Red Bank High School also has three 3-D printers and a laser cutting machine for students to use. Through the 3-D printer, students can turn a blueprint they draw into a small product.
This year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Red Bank Catholic who took the CADD design course found that the face shields were not very convenient to wear, so they decided to improve the current design to make it more flexible, while reducing manufacturing costs. With the teacher's guidance, the students in the CADD design class first used SolidWorks to complete the design, then used the 3-D printer to make a batch of face shields, and at the end, donated the final products to the Jersey Coast Medical Center. These students also plan to design a touch-less door handle, which will be displayed in a local supermarket and given to local residents for free.
To learn more, watch the CADD mock class at Red Bank Catholic High School below!