Vandegrift High School | 9500 McNeil Drive, Austin, TX | T: 512 570 2300 |

Calendar (2019-2020)

Engineering with Perrone
Engineering Science • VHS

An automaton from the 18th century demonstrates the use of cams.



  • Introduction to the class​

8/19-8/23                                                                   1.1  Mechanisms

  • Analyze a lever, then extend the analysis to other simple machines
  • Define ideal and actual mechanical advantage
  • answer key for simple machine practice problems


  • quiz over simple machines (Monday)
  • build simple machines using VEX hardware, then measure the mechanical advantage of each


  • complete simple machine lab
  • read this fun article on an impossible pulley system
  • begin introduction to gears


  • examine the gear ratios in a car's transmission - worksheet (answer key)
  • car transmission project












  • calculate the gear ratio for a compound gear
  • read about compound gears here
  • watch this great video summarizing types of gears
  • discuss chain and sprocket and belt and pulley systems
  • quiz over gears on Wednesday
  • Activity 1.1.6 Compound Machine Design Challenge
    • Each member of the team must submit a final report
    • Each report must include a (rough) preliminary sketch, a final sketch, calculations as laid out in the activity packet, and answers to the conclusion questions
    • The machine must lift 500 g by 6 inches or, with approval, you may substitute a different goal
    • The machine must have an ideal mechanical advantage of >1
    • The machine must include at least 2 non-gear simple machines (at least one of which is not a wheel and axle) and either a gear train or chain and sprocket


  • continue working on Compound Machine Design project

9/30-10/4                                                                         1.2 Energy Sources

  • introduce the concept of electrical charge
  • begin an exploration of electrical circuits and the key equation governing them: Ohm's Law
  • construct electrical circuits and measure current and voltage


  • "solve" circuit problems through the application of Ohm's Law and the power equation
  • build a circuit on a breadboard


  • practice solving circuit problems
  • calculate electrical energy usage - worksheet answer key
  • presentation on energy and power
  • quiz over circuits (Friday)
  • after finishing the quiz, research battery technology (read/answer questions)


  • research the basic principles of energy and electricity here by completing this worksheet
  • read about electricity usage in the US here and complete this worksheet
  • discuss photovoltaic cells (solar cells)
  • make a Google Slides presentation that addresses these questions, pertaining to our sources of energy; cite your sources on the last slide; then share it with me
  • be prepared to share your research with the class in a short presentation


  • present your research on a primary energy source
  • build a winch (build instructions -- you're only doing the first part of this packet) and measure its efficiency in lifting a load
  • the winch (motor) efficiency lab instructions are here
  • record your results on this worksheet
  • we've talked about motors before ... re-read the beginning of this handout


  • complete the motor efficiency (winch) assignment
  • read the attached document about maximizing motor power; perform the included experiment, recording the results in your class notebook
  • learn more about DC motors here; this page is also a nice, short intro to DC motors


  • discuss the workings of a hydrogen fuel cell and the pros and cons of using them
  • research fuel cells and related infrastructure here, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) website
  • here's more information from the Department of Energy
  • read about NASA's interest in fuel cells here (old site, more detail) and here (new site, less detail)
  • view this presentation ("Increase your H2 IQ") from the US Department of Energy
  • Popular Mechanics article: Make Hydrogen Cheap Again
  • Popular Mechanics article: Where Are All The Hydrogen Cars?
  • How Electric Cars Work - Animagraffs
  • discuss thermal insulation, focusing on R-value, U-value and thermal conductivity (handout) if you are absent on Wednesday, complete this handout using the embedded links and Google
  • here's a helpful site on composite wall R values; and one on thermal conductivity
  • PowerPoint presentation over thermodynamics concepts

​There will be an open-notes test on Thursday.



  • Monday: work on the giant packet, in which you review forces and torque
  • When you need a break, check out this website on hydrogen fuel cells. It seems even Shell (!!) is exploring the use of hydrogen in powering vehicles.
  • The following website is interesting. Of course, you should be skeptical of Shell's claims to be taking climate change seriously.























Shell: The Great Travel Hack - An epic lower CO₂ emissions adventure from Los Angeles to New York - Season One


  • analyze see-saws and beams, in terms of force and torque


  • analyze structures in terms of force and torque (moment)
  • torque worksheet answer key
  • page from textbook, on moments, key
  • Thursday: quiz on forces, torques, and such



  • discuss the structure of a truss bridge and the purpose of completing an analysis of the tension and compression forces in the beams of a truss
  • perform a mathematical analysis of a truss
  • Designing and Building File-Folder Bridges (packet)


  • practice structural analysis of a truss
  • quiz over torque, trusses (in general), and performing a structural analysis of a truss



  • continue building file-folder truss bridges


  • finish building file-folder truss bridges
  • watch video #1 and #2 on this page and fill out the notes sheet that goes with them - finish this for homework

AP Research Project



  • discuss stress, strain and the modulus of elasticity
  • discuss elastic vs plastic deformation
  • use these concepts in a series of calculations
  • beam deflection lab


  • quiz on stress, strain and the modulus of elasticity - Wednesday
  • review modulus of toughness and strain energy
  • begin Unit 2.2 Material Properties