An Early Introduction to Engineering in the DES

If you walk by the Design Engineering Studio (DES) at any given time, you will likely find Senior School boys in there working. But now you may also find a sprinkling of Grade 5 students. Senior Master Chris D’Arcy has designed a six-session program over a span of three weeks for the Grade 5’s. 
“I’ve been working with the younger kids for a few years now because we believe that the engineering experience would be useful for all grades,” said Mr. D’Arcy. “And because they get to work with boys in the Senior School, it ties into our whole school philosophy.” 

Mr. D’Arcy believes it’s important to expose the kids to engineering at a young age. 

“My belief is that the younger kids are exposed to fundamental principles, the stronger their affinity. You have a closer bond with a certain activity if you’re exposed early,” he said. “A few little ideas sprinkled into their experience at a young age allows them to make much stronger connections and relationships.” 

The program is an introduction to binary numbers and digital logic, and involves some hands-on activities and research. 

Grade 5 teacher Thomas Story can see that his students are loving their time in the DES. 

“They were so excited to even go into that room and when they were in there, they were so engaged with what was going on because there were Senior School boys in there working with 3D printers and other cool things,” said Mr. Story. “They’ve all been really respectful, listening well and asking good questions.” 

A few of the boys have been so keen that they bought programming boards called Arduinos from the Dragon’s Lair and have been spending some of their free time working on them in the DES. 

“It’s so cool and fun. I’m using an Arduino board to make a Morland Bar Graph with LED lights that light up,” said Navid Samim Firouz Salari. “I actually had no idea I’d be so interested in engineering.” 

Gabe Psarolis has also taken a keen interest. 

“It’s so cool to get to work with some of the older boys because some the Senior School students are always in there with us,” said Gabe. “It’s also great to work with Mr. D’Arcy – he’s so interactive.”