E&R Unit 6: Mini-Projects

Make Something Awesome


This unit is meant to give you the freedom and flexibility to build something awesome!  You’ve had a chance to see a lot of different programs, tools, machines, and ideas – now it’s your chance to turn those skills into a project of your own design.  As we complete this unit, your job is to follow the engineering design process

  • Make a plan for making something awesome
  • Build it
  • Communicate your process

You’ll start with the design brief that’s listed in Step 1, and from there get to develop and build whatever you want.  Keep in mind the time constraints, and try to develop a project or idea that uses the tools we’ve talked about this semester.  As always, we’ll follow the Engineering Design Process as we work through this final semester project:

  1. Identify your project, brainstorm, and design what you want to build
  2. Build your prototype!
  3. Share your work with others and write-up a final reflection

When you’re done, you’ll have finished your project and our semester!


(20 pts)  About 2 days

All good projects start with a design brief and a clear description of the problem.  You’ll start by looking through the provided design brief, and then brainstorming some fun things you can build.  Decide what you want to work on – a new 3D model & print, a fancy project with the laser, a new robot out of spare parts, anything! Then draw up some detailed plans in your engineering notebook including dimensions and a parts list.


(20 pts)  About 4 days

Get to work!  Most of our work will start in a computer: maybe with Autodesk or Photoshop.  Then we’ll transfer our work into the Makerspace as needed.  Build a prototype, evaluate, and make any changes or adjustments you need to get something awesome!


(30 pts)  About 2 days

Finally, we’ll share our process with our classmates and write a short reflection.  The communication step is one of the most important in the Engineering Design Process, and we’ll take some time to practice those skills and to see what neat things other students created.

Part 1: Define & Design

Clarify what you want to build and design it!

Defining & Designing your project

The first part of this project is all about coming up with ideas.  Sit down and think about all the things we did this semester – Autodesk & 3D printing, programming and robotics, lasers, G-Code, soldering, vinyl cutting, etc – and brainstorm a list of “cool things” you could make!  Then, pick something!  You’ll get the unit to design and create an awesome project using the tools we learned in class.  Decide what you want to make, and then make a careful drawing in your notebook that includes dimensions as well as a materials list.


Brainstorm a list of at least 10 possible projects and choose one

Make a very careful drawing in your notebook of what you want to build and include a materials list

 Have Mr. Benshoof approve your idea

What’s Due In Part 1: Define & Design

  • Brainstorm & Decide
  • Draw & Plan
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Approval

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Define & Design

  1. Brainstorm at least 10 project ideas in your engineering notebook
  2.  Draw a careful diagram of what you want to build, and include a list of materials needed
  3.  Have Mr. Benshoof approve your design and plan

Part 2: Prototyping

Building your prototype in the makerspace

Prototyping Overview

A big part


 Follow your plan and build your prototype!

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your final prototype

What’s Due In Part 2: Prototyping

  • Prototype!
  • Mr. Benshoof’s check-off

Here’s what’s due in Part 2: Prototyping

  1.  Build your prototype
  2.  Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your final prototype

Part 3: Communicate

Share your work with other people!

Communication Overview

The last part of any project is always to share your work with other people.  Sometimes that will mean formal presentations, other times it’s more informal feedback sessions.  For this project, we’ll take a day and share our work with the class and give each other feedback on our work.  In addition, we’ll also write up a 1-page reflection in our engineering notebooks.


Share your work with your class in our engineering roundtables

 Write your project reflection in your engineering notebook

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm you written reflection

What’s Due In Part 3: Communication

  • Engineering Roundtable
  • Written Reflection
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Confirmation

Here’s what’s due in Part 3: Communication

  1.  Share your work with your classmates in our engineering roundtable conversations
  2.  You should have written your complete project reflection in your engineering notebook
  3. Have Mr. Benshoof confirm that your work is complete

Double Check: Unit Expectations

Check what you need to have completed by the unit deadline

The purpose of this unit is to give you a chance to use the Engineering Design Process to build something awesome.  We’ve spent a lot of time this semester getting used to the lab, tools, and opportunities, and this project should give you the time to try something new with those tools.  These projects do not have to be large in scope, but they should instead demonstrate your ability to work through a design and build process.

Engineering Notebook:

(Part 1) Brainstorm, describe, and draw project plan

(Part 3) Project reflection


Building & Making:

(Part 1) Make a plan for building your prototype

(Part 2) Build your prototype

(Part 3) Participate in engineering roundtable

Checkpoints & Quizzes:

(Part 1) Have Mr. Benshoof approve your plan

(Part 2) Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your prototype completion

(Part 3) Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your completed reflection