Prosper High School held its second annual Cardboard Chair Display night on May 10-11, which featured the finished work of the students in the Concepts of Engineering class. The students were given eight weeks to progress from concept to research, design and test, culminating with the creation of a final functional product.
“This is our intro to engineering class,” PHS Engineering teacher Don Berliner said. “What I’ve done all year is to start with little projects and then make them bigger. I’ve added something to each one as far as something to learn. They’re using a lot of what we call industry standards. They use a Gantt chart, which is a tool to maintain dates and what you’re doing at those times. They also use a decision matrix, which is a mathematical way to figure out which chair designs might be better than others. From there, they draw an inventor, which is 3D drafting software. Then they have to design and build an actual chair and get pictures of at least three people sitting in it. This, today, is the final product.”
The high school cafeteria played host to the chair displays as students and parents were able to view the designs and research for each one. At least one of the team members for each display was present to answer questions.
“My partner came up with the design,” Riley Foster, sophomore at PHS said. “We both modified his old design and then we redesigned it with a half scale mock up. Then we made improvements upon that. It was fun and interesting. I am going to be taking Architecture I next year.”
“I designed the chair,” PHS sophomore Hunter Fritchen said. “I looked at other chair designs to come up with the idea. There have been several issues with it but it can hold some weight now. I think computer hardware engineering is a field that I would like to go into. It was a very fun project.”
“Almost everything is done by them,” Berliner said. “They look it up online to come up with ideas, and they do a lot of work in small teams. It’s usually a two-man team making the final chair. It’s good that they have to think for themselves but then also get into a team and formulate something. They learn a lot without even thinking about it. Honestly, they love it. They really do.”
The engineering program at Prosper High School has expanded due to its popularity and an additional teacher will be hired for next year. In addition, Architecture and Manufacturing Engineering classes will be added. Subsequently, Construction Management Engineering and Aerospace Engineering will be next to be included in the class offerings.