Engineering at Ipswich

Some students at Ipswich High School might not think of their school as having a technical side like engineering. Well, here at Ipswich we have a number of classes students can take to help them understand the basics of engineering: Drafting and Design, Intro to Engineering, Engineering Projects, Engineering Future, and Engineering II.  Mr. Gallant is the teacher of these classes and a former teacher at Amesbury High and UMASS Lowell. With each class comes a different skill to learn about engineering. 

In Drafting and Design, students learn about architecture, how to build buildings, and how to move the land so a house will stay standing for a long time. Students use programs like Autocad and Sketchup to design a building, figure out dimensions, and determine how the water flows on a plot of land. Students also learn how to look at maps, how to know where to build, and what one can build. Engineering II is the same content, but students create a company and learn how to build in the industrial zones. 

In Engineering Projects, Mr. Gallant gives students a task like building a mousetrap that catches the mice alive or a trebuchet, and if students complete the task successfully they earn points and move on to the next project.

In Engineering of the Future, students are given an RC car to build and have to figure out how to improve the car’s performance through aerodynamics, traction, motor power, and any other adjustments. Since the teams are so big half may have to learn how to build a battery charger for the car batteries that can be charged by a solar panel or by turning a motor to generate energy. 

John Lear, a senior at Ipswich High, has taken Engineering II and Drafting and Design. During his freshman year, he took Intro to Engineering and felt that it was his favorite Engineering class because it was hard to fail, the projects were hands-on, and he always felt engaged in continuing to make the project A+ material. For example, students built locker organizers which they considered a fun project because it was hands-on. The class visited downtown Ipswich to consider all of the different materials the buildings were made of. John said he likes the engineering classes that he’s taking because he has to problem-solve and work on hands-on skills when he’s making a project. Also, he likes the Engineering classes because the projects are fun. John’s favorite project was building a house because he liked using SketchUp and then making the actual model of the house for the project. Even though John doesn’t see himself working in the engineering field, he highly recommends taking Mr. Gallant’s engineering classes.

Mr. Gallant recommends that students who aren’t certain what they want to do try taking an engineering class. He recognizes that there is always a need for workers skilled in welding and HVAC. There are other technical-vocational schools in the area like Whittier Tech and Essex Tech that have more classes than architecture and problem-solving. For example, Whitter offers more hands-on experience in electrical, automotive, HVAC, plumbing and more. Engineering is still a growing skill that is needed everywhere. If you are a student who is thinking about becoming an engineer or a trade worker, talk to Mr. Gallant about your future.