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Sumner Hill freshmen prepare to be engineers of tomorrow

Engineering StudentSeptember 9, 2022


Step right up and see if you have what it takes to win!


That’s the challenge issued to Justin Odom’s Introduction to Engineering Design students at Sumner Hill Junior High School.


The challenge, however, was to design a carnival game using engineering principles to launch a bean bag at a grand prize target with only a three to five percent chance of the grand prize being won.


“There is definitely a lot of science behind this project,” Odom said, “mostly in the area of kinematics dealing with projectile motion.”


Odom, a tenured teacher in the Clinton Public School District, said he formatted the lesson in a way that allowed his students to analyze the mathematics and data collection when it came to how far back they pulled on a rubber band and how far the bean bag flew.


“The original goal was to launch the bean bags ten feet,” he said, “but if they needed to launch their bean bags at some other distance to better suit their device, they had to make those adjustments to complete the objective.”


The data collected by the students guided their efforts in making the game easier or harder in order to meet the three to five percent criteria.


This is just one of the ways Clinton students are presented with developing problem-solving skills in one of the numerous STEM classes offered throughout the Clinton Public School District.


“Introduction to Engineering Design puts students in situations where they must find solutions using math and science while focusing on the design aspect of engineering,” Odom said. “This, essentially, is what an engineer does on a regular basis.”


Odom’s freshman students work through the design process, something they have learned through STEM classes at Lovett and Clinton Junior High School, generating ideas, testing those ideas and evaluating the final solutions that could lead to future innovations.


 “This class helps students figure out if engineering is something they are interested in,” Odom said. “If they find they have the drive for it, there are plenty of other engineering classes through Career and Technical Education at Clinton High School that will help prepare the students of today to become the engineers of tomorrow.”