It is only fitting that the sixth grade team from Westridge Elementary, an official state STEM designated school, is using Monday’s solar eclipse as a engineering opportunity. Westridge students were assigned the engaging and timely project of creating pinhole cameras for viewing Monday’s solar eclipse. Students worked together in teams to design their cameras using a 3D design program. The sixth graders then presented these design, how they would function for viewing and how they represented Westridge to the rest of their class. The class voted on the best designs, which were then printed using a 3D printer. Ezra and Ethan designed the winning pinhole camera for Mr. Jackman’s class and were excited to see their design take shape on a 3D printer.

The students at Westridge modeled the engineering design process also referred to as the problem solving process. It begins with a relevant or real world problem with real world constraints. In this case, the design had to be reproducible, had to represent Westridge, and obviously had to work safely for a solar eclipse. Then the students worked in teams, researched ideas, developed their designs and came up with possible solution. The teams then presented their idea to their market audience representing real world consumers where a decision was made and the design was reproduced.

Monday the students will get to try out their designs on an actual solar eclipse. They will stand with their backs to the sun, looking at the image of the eclipse projected by their pinhole cameras. Great job Westridge team for engineering a once in a lifetime learning opportunity.

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