Engineering Design (at home learning)


The Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy

Invites you to attend our Drive-Through Senior Recognition Event


When: May 26th 6:00-8:00 PM

Where: GWAMA Campus 2401 J.J. Flewellen


What can be expected: Seniors will receive a packet including their Academy Certification, TSTC Dual Credit Pathway Completion Medals when applicable, Graduation Cords for all seniors, and any cord for students who placed in FRC robotics and SKILLS USA


More Information for the GWAMA Senior Event May 26, 2020


  • Event starts at 6:00 PM
  • There will be Waco ISD Police there to direct traffic flow of the event
  • All seniors and family members must stay in their vehicle
  • Seniors will identify themselves by placing their name in front passenger side of car windshield with academy they attended
  • Each senior will receive their academy certification, TSTC certification and medal (where applies) and senior cord(s)
  • Blue senior cords are for attending GWAMA, FRC chords are for seniors participating in FRC events, and Skills USA cords are for seniors who placed first in a competition event.
  • GWAMA Board Members will be present on each side of the drive-through area to congratulate seniors.
  • Photographs of the event will be taken by WISD employees


We look forward to celebrating all our Seniors!


May 11-May 17 2020

Watch this video I would have, you never asked.

What does it mean to leave a legacy? It could mean transferring knowledge, passing on values and life lessons, or simply leaving a lasting impression for stories to be told and memories to be shared about you. What legacy will you leave at work, or in life? You could write your memoir. A memoir is a collection of memories that you write about moments or events, public or private, that took place in your life. This could be a very time-consuming process. Or, you could write a 6-word memoir. Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Below are some other examples of 6-word memoirs from famous people:

"Life is one big editorial meeting" - Activist Gloria Steinem "

The miserable childhood leads to royalties" - Author Frank McCourt

"Acting is not all I am" - Actress Molly Ringwald

The task-->Write a memoir of your senior year in 6 words! Whether it’s humorous, or profound, or somewhere in between, use events or memories or emotions that have some type of meaning in your life. It does not have to include COVID19 virus stuff. Then sign your name to it and email it to me

For example: mine for this year might be "My classroom doesn't have any walls" -Mrs. Orcutt

Email your finished product to

If you need step-by-step specific help, you can watch this video


April 27-May 10 2020

I have had quite a few students ask for extra time for the Oil Spill assignment. I, therefore, added a week and it is now due May 10 (Mother's Day ;-)).  Just remember we have to have a certain number of grades for you.  

Seniors-remember to save all of the stuff from your school google account that you want to keep.  You won't be able to get it after you graduate.  Try using Google Takeout.  Here is a video to help 


What is an Oil Spill?
An oil spill is an accidental release of liquid petroleum hydrocarbons (usually during transportation of oil) into the environment. Oil spills usually refer to the release of oils into water, but of course, an oil spill can take place on land as well. While spills can take place quickly, as when a ship sinks or a leak occurs in a pipeline, the cleanup can be a long term project.

Impact on the Environment   
Birds are one of the creatures impacted by oil spills. Oil can sink into and reduce the functionality of bird feathers. A bird's feathers provide insulation, so a bird exposed to oil will be exposed to temperatures they are not used to. It also makes it difficult for a bird to float or fly…so the bird will be more vulnerable to animals of prey, or the bird may not be able to move to find food or clean water. Birds try to clean themselves, and if they do they are likely to ingest some of the oil which can cause damage to internal organs. Most birds impacted by an oil spill die unless humans step in and help clean them. Many organizations work to save these animals. Marine mammals such as seals and otters gain insulation benefits from their fur. As oil permeates the fur, they are potentially exposed to temperatures beyond their normal range. It is important to act quickly when a spill occurs to lessen the impact of the spill on the natural environment. Environmental engineers are often called upon to come up with planned solutions in advance of a spill or to customize systems bases on a specific event.

Engineering Trade-offs
In order to reduce the chances of an oil spill, engineers have developed new ship designs with double -- and even triple hulls. The oil is stored in the most interior hull so that if there was a leak, it would be captured in the next outer hull. Of course, these multiple hulled ships are more expensive to build and operate, so a company will have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of ship engineering in order to come up with a plan that meets safety requirements, but also does not increase the cost of the shipped product more than the market can bear.

Clean-up Methods
There are many types of cleaning methods used for spills, including:

  • Bioremediation: using microorganisms or biological agents to break down or remove oil
  • Dredging: some oils are actually denser than water, and would sink. These would require cleaning below the surface of the impacted water.
  • Skimming: can be effective areas where the water is calm.
  • Dispersion: materials such as some detergents can disperse oil into smaller clusters that may be easier to remove than larger areas. However, the detergents can sink deeper into the water than oil does, so it may cause harm deeper in the water while reducing the negative environmental impact on the surface.
  • Burning: controlled burning can often eliminate a large proportion of oil in water, but of course requires great care to avoid having the fire spread. The burning oil can also cause air pollution.

Your Assignment:

You are an environmental engineer who has been given the challenge of first containing and then cleaning up an oil spill. You may use any combination of materials available to you, but you will have to come up with a strategy to remove as much oil as possible.

Some helpful websites to help get you started:

Materials you might consider trying:

Rubber bands, paper towels, string, toothpicks, cotton balls, plastic wrap, popsicle sticks, shredded wheat cereal, balloons, cooked rice, garden peat moss, grass, cork, suction tube/cooking baster, spoon

-->You will download and fill out a Planning Worksheet and An Evaluation Worksheet, take pictures of your solution, and email each of these artifacts to Mrs. Orcutt


April 20-26 2020

Our project for this week is to Design a New Paper Airplane


  • Criteria - what the design or product must do and will be graded/judged on

  • Constraints - what can be used and what cannot be used

  • Variables - one thing can be changed at a time in an experiment to see what happens; does it get better or worse? Then another variable can be changed to see that does.


Current runways and air systems cannot handle the growing number of people and goods that need to travel by air. We can change the airports, but a more affordable solution is to change the airplanes themselves.

Your job is to design a paper airplane model that can carry the maximum amount of cargo (paper clips) and land within a 10’ to 15’ landing strip area. You will need to research different types of airplane designs and then test them. You will then select the best design and use it for your final design. The paper clips can be carried or attached anywhere you would like on the airplane, but you cannot use any tape or glue in making your model or attaching the paper clips.

Your model may be made from the material of your choice but must not be larger than standard paper size (8 1/2” x 11”). When flying your airplane, you must hand launch it from ground level. You may use your own design, or you can research other paper airplane designs and try them.


  1. Research different types of paper airplane design and pick three to try; one can be your own unique idea if you wish

  2. Test your ideas, changing one variable at a time, to see what the best idea is

  3. Pick your best idea and use it for your final test, for the grade

Paper Airplane Construction and Setup
Use any airplane design you like.


  • Any type of foldable material (not larger than 8 1/2” x 11” sheet of notebook paper)

  • Scissors

  • Paper clips

Step #1: Define the problem

To be able to solve a problem, you must first clearly define the problem and what the desired outcome is. Your CRITERIA(s) will be what your design must be able to do. Your CONSTRAINT(s) is/are what limits your design or what you can do. List what your criteria and constraints are for this problem in the table below.


Carry as many paper clips as possible


Foldable 8-1/2” x 11” material Maximum

















Step #2: Come up with ideas (more than 1)

To be able to solve a problem, you must next brainstorm and come up with ideas for things that might work, create a basic design, sketch it, and write to explain what you are thinking. Then select the best one. List ideas for your possible airplane designs in the table below.


Design 1

Design 2

Design 3

Airplane Shape (sketch and describe it)





(list what you will use

to make it)




Where will you place the paper clips and how? (remember you cannot tape, glue, etc... they must be detachable)




Step #3: Select the best solution

Now, look at all the different factors to your possible design solutions. Take the three best solutions and combine them into a final prototype. Circle or highlight the best airplane shape, material, and where you will place the paperclips. Sketch your final design and explain how it will carry the paper clips, how well it will work, etc.

Step #4: Test and modify as needed

Now you need to test your best idea. Make ONE variable change and test it again. Record how it performs, is it better or worse? Change and test again. At the end of testing make changes you need for the final design that you will test-fly for your grade. Test fly your airplane at least three times and record the results, make one variable change, and record it in the table below.




Description of
what you

Flight Test #1

Flight Test #2

Flight Test #3

Design #1

Airplane Shape





Material to use





Where will you place the paper clips?





Design #2

Airplane Shape





Material to use





Where will you place the paper clips?





Design #3

Airplane Shape





Material to use





Where will you place the paper clips?
























You may email the answers to me as a scanned document, word document, shared Google document, or just put the answers in the email.

If you need me to talk to you directly, we can do a video chat. As always, I am just an email away and you are welcome to converse with me, ask questions, or tell me what you may need. I will do my best to help you out. 

Still miss you so much,

Mrs. Orcutt

April 13-19 2020

If you haven't finished the project from last week, do that first.  I will give you the time.

For this assignment, we are going to look at information surrounding the COVID19 pandemic and make a short 10 slide presentation about it using words and current memes. Principles of Technology is also doing this project because all of you need to understand the science behind this and this is a once in a lifetime chance for you to see the science in action. This will be something that you should save as a memory as well as turn in to me. The link to the assignment and the rubric are here for you to download. You may do this in Google slides, PowerPoint, Hyperdocs, or any other platform that you choose and email the finished product to me

Some websites to help get you going:

Separating myth from fact around coronavirus – HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) - Texas Department of Health and Human Services

Understanding the Novel Coronavirus - GoInvo

If you want to make your presentation into a 3-minute video, here is a link for a $250,000 scholarship that you could enter

And again if you are a senior, here is a really unique option for you Seniors Can Participate in Minecraft Graduation Ceremony.  High School seniors can sign up here.

Miss you bunches,

Mrs. Orcutt

April 6-12 2020

Engineering Design Process Review Project

Background Review

Engineers follow the steps of the engineering design process to guide them as they solve problems. The steps are:

Ask: identify the need & constraints

  • Identify and define the problem. Who does the problem affect? What needs to be accomplished? What is the overall goal of the project?
  • Identify the criteria and constraints. The criteria are the requirements the solution must meet, such as designing a bag to hold at least 10 lbs. Constraints are the limitations and restrictions on a solution, such as a maximum budget or specific dimensions.

Research the problem

  • Learn everything you can about the problem. Talk to experts and/or research on what products or solutions already exist.
  • If working for a client, such as designing new filters for a drinking water treatment plant, talk with the client to determine the needs and wants.

Imagine: develop possible solutions

  • Brainstorm ideas and come up with as many solutions as possible. Wild and crazy ideas are welcome! Encourage teamwork and building on ideas.

Plan: select a promising solution

  • Consider the pros and cons of all possible solutions, keeping in mind the criteria and constraints.
  • Choose one solution and make a plan to move forward with it.

Create: build a prototype

  • Create your chosen solution! Push for creativity, imagination, and excellence in the design.

Test and evaluate the prototype

  • Test out the solution to see how well it works. Does it meet all the criteria and solve the need? Does it stay within the constraints? Talk about what worked during testing and what didn’t work. Communicate the results and get feedback. What could be improved?

Improve: redesign as needed

  • Optimize the solution. Redesign parts that didn’t work, and test again.
  • Iterate! Engineers improve their ideas and designs many times as they work towards a solution.


brainstorming: A team creativity activity with the purpose to generate a large number of potential solutions to a design challenge.

constraint: A limitation or restriction. For engineers, design constraints are the requirements and limitations that the final design solutions must meet. Constraints are part of identifying and defining a problem, the first stage of the engineering design cycle.

criteria: For engineers, the specifications and requirements design solutions must meet. Criteria are part of identifying and defining a problem, the first stage of the engineering design cycle.

develop: In the engineering design cycle, to create different solutions to an engineering problem.

engineering: Creating new things for the benefit of humanity and our world. Designing and building products, structures, machines and systems that solve problems. The “E” in STEM.

engineering design process: A series of steps used by engineering teams to guide them as they develop new solutions, products or systems. The process is cyclical and iterative. Also called the engineering design cycle.

evaluate: To assess something (such as a design solution) and form an idea about its merit or value (such as whether it meets project criteria and constraints).

optimize: To make the solution better after testing. Part of the engineering design cycle.


You will be undertaking an engineering design challenge.

1. Begin by reading Marisol's Case Study (Click on the link to bring up the document) and answer the accompanying questions on a word processing document (you will email this to Orcutt)

2. Go through the steps of the engineering design process to create a locker organizer for Marisol. You may spend no more than $3 on the organizer and you must work within this budget constraint. As a size constraint,  the locker is 32 inches tall, 12 inches wide and 9.5 inches deep. You may repurpose items from around your house if they are not currently an organizer. Document each step you take of the engineering design cycle on the word processing document above. Take a picture of your finished product and insert it into the word processing document.  Email the document to Mrs. Orcutt. Include your first and last name and Eng. Des. project in the email message subject.  

If you have any questions or comments (or you just want to say 'hi') send me an email and I will respond.

Those of you who are seniors should check this out Seniors Can Participate in Minecraft Graduation Ceremony.                                               High School seniors can sign up here

I miss you guys.

Mrs. Orcutt

Google Voice #254-340-4309