A brown sign for the Baltimore Museum of Industry next to the green museum building. The photo shows machinery in the background and a barrel in the foreground. Photo by Marcin Wichary/Flickr Creative Commons.
Baltimore Museum of Industry. Photo by Marcin Wichary/Flickr Creative Commons.

After spending the better part of the year using engineering design to solve technical problems, Baltimore City public high school students will present their work at the Engineering Design and Development Symposium on Friday.

About 30 teams comprised of approximately 77 seniors from four area high schools will present their capstone projects, which represent the culmination of a multi-year course of study in engineering. Students and teachers are coming from Patterson High School, Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, Edmondson Westside High School, and Western High School.

John Bachman, engineering teacher at Western High School and secretary of the Baltimore City Engineering Alliance, has led BCPSS’s EDD capstone course for the last 10 years. He explained that for nearly the entire school year, students work in teams to create original solutions to “valid open-ended technical problems by applying the engineering design process.”

At the symposium, students share their solutions and design processes to an audience of engineers and other industry professionals. Each team’s presentation lasts approximately 10 minutes. Students get feedback on their designs and guidance on what their next steps might be.

One project presents a software solution through which the user can see how any piece of clothing or accessory will look on them before they purchase it. Another project attempts to save people money by creating a cord protector that wraps around a cord’s weak point to prevent it from breaking.

A third project tackles the difficulty of keeping a wheelchair stable as it travels uphill on certain slopes. Yet another attempts to create a battery-operated heater to help the unhoused population stay warm during the winter.

The symposium will take place at the Baltimore Museum of Industry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

Then, on May 10 at Open Works, the 2023 Innovation Showcase will feature one team from each school for a smaller event open to an audience of industry, higher education, and local community members. That event will take place from 5-7 p.m.

According to the Maryland Public Schools’ website, the PLTW engineering program “prepares students for further education and careers in engineering and engineering technology.”

After completing foundation level courses in engineering, students select an area of specialization from disciplines like aerospace engineering, civil engineering and architecture, computer integrated manufacturing, computer science principles, or environmental sustainability. Then, “students complete an industry mentored capstone project in engineering design and development, and students who qualify can earn transcripted credit at PLTW-affiliated colleges and universities nationwide, including the University of Maryland, Baltimore County,” according to the website.

Both the symposium and showcase events are open to the public. Anyone interested in attending can find more details and RSVP here.

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