All middle school students at McAuliffe study engineering and technology and engage with IB Middle Years Program design cycle through our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program. (Review the IB MYP Design brief here.) PLTW’s Gateway to Technology curriculum includes foundation courses in Design & Modeling and Automation & Robotics during 6th grade, and specialty courses that build upon this foundation during 7th and 8th grades. This project-based curriculum allows students to envision, design, and test their ideas with the same advanced modeling software used by leading technology and engineering companies.
- Design & Modeling
Students are introduced to and use the design process to solve problems and understand the influence that creative and innovative design has on our lives.
- Automation & Robotics
Students use a robust robotics platform to design, build, and program a solution to solve an existing problem.
- Green Architecture
Students learn green architecture and construction, exploring dimensioning, measuring, and architectural sustainability. Students use the building design software Autodesk Revit to create custom plans. The course is divided into three sections: architecture basics, introduction to sustainable architecture, and an architectural challenge. The culminating project is designing a housing unit from a shipping container using principles learned in the course.
- Energy and the Environment
Students are challenged to think big and toward the future as they explore sustainable solutions to our energy needs and investigate the impact of energy on our lives and the world. This course allows students to explore alternative energy sources introduced in Green Architecture in greater depth by modeling solar panels and wind turbines. Students will evaluate options for reducing energy consumption.
In 8th grade, students engage in a Capstone Design Course to demonstrate their accumulated knowledge in the areas of design and engineering. Through extensive use of the International Baccalaureate design cycle, students in this course will work to create an in-depth project in an area of specialization from the choices listed below and document an iterative design.
- Advanced Robotics
- Advanced Design
- Advanced Architecture
- Intro to Computer Science
Students discover the principles of this fast-growing field by focusing on creativity and an iterative design process as they create their own basic apps using MIT App Inventor.
3D printing at McAuliffe
McAuliffe uses 3D printing as part of our engineering program. Students can print 3D models of their designs on our new MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers. Three-dimensional (3D) printing is an exciting tool in the ‘maker’ movement and will allow students to see their engineering designs come to fruition quickly. To see our 3D printer in action, view this video here.