Computer-aided design (CAD) software is used by architects, engineers, drafters, artists and virtually every other industry to create drawings and illustrations. The drawings are then used as blueprints to construct products and structures, such as buildings, machinery, toys, microchips, plumbing and electrical systems, vehicles and many other manufactured goods. Memorial Middle School recently piloted a new program through one of the Career Investigation classes to explore the principles of CAD. “With every industry using CAD programs, this is the way the world is moving. I wanted to expose the students on my campus to a program that they could potentially use to build a lifelong career,” according to Jeff Akin, MMS Principal.
To get the program rolling, Akin enlisted the help of his brother, Steve Herman. Herman, a self-taught CAD user, has been an electrician and teacher for over 30 years. He is the author of several textbooks on the subjects of mathematics and electricity. He is retired from being a lead instructor for the Electrical Technology curriculum at Lee College in Baytown, Texas. Herman uses CAD software for electrical diagrams.
According to Akin, the goals for the program this year were simple: use the software with a small number of students, give the students experience in actual field work and produce a useable product by the end of the year.
The goal of using the program with a small number of students was inadvertently solved when eighth graders Trystn Stout, Kobe McAdoo, Garrett Rogers and Anthony Juntti’s schedules required an elective during fourth period and there was not one available. The Career Investigation class was formed to accommodate that scheduling need. The start of the program was delayed a bit when the software did not arrive as expected, but soon the students were designing a house as their first project. “I’ve really learned a lot in AutoCAD. I have learned how to measure the thickness of walls and how to draw house plans,” said Trystn Stout.
Currently, the students are conducting field work by measuring the school building. According to Akin, “No known blueprints exist for the middle school building. So the students are measuring and creating a diagram with square footage, the location of doors, windows, etc., The students had a learning curve when they measured the building and were off by a few inches and remeasured. They soon discovered that the building is not “square” which provided a new opportunity for learning,”
Akin hopes to offer the class next year and add two to three seats. He would like to see the program eventually become part of the Career and Technical Curriculum at the high school.