Engineering II students in one of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s Career and Technical Education classes are building attachments to modify a ramp for GCISD Special Olympics student-athletes to use in a bocce ball tournament.

The details

With help from Grapevine High School’s Robotics Team, CTE Engineering II students used computer-aided design programs to make modifications for bowling ramps that the Special Olympics students already had, a district news release states.

“Instead of building an entire new ramp for cost reasons, we built an attachment to add to the bowling ramp,” GHS junior Trevor Bahlenhorst said.

Bahlenhorst added that the attachment, which is made out of two PVC pipes and polycarbonate material, “easily slides into place and is easy to transport.”

According to the news release, the Special Olympics student-athletes will use the ramps in a first-ever bocce ball tournament with school resource officers, board of trustee members and the district’s leadership team. The tournament will take place in April.

Diving in deeper

Beyond giving students an opportunity to use computer-aided design programs for a real-world project, CTE teacher Anya McCarthy said that the project is teaching them collaboration, and other skills that employers are looking for.

“They are also using a lot of technical skills, such as following the engineering design process, which is a constant cycle of making improvements to see what works and doesn’t work, and continue to make another iteration,” she said.

McCarthy said those skills are exactly what engineering mentors from Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopter, who have visited the class, have said is what they want to see in students.

Quote of note

“[Employers have] said that book smarts are one thing, but the practical application is what they are looking for,” McCarthy said. “To think of something and be able to draw it up on a sketch, and to watch it come to life in a bigger aspect, it definitely feels like an accomplishment.”