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


  • 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 - notes packet


  • watch a BBC series on materials (metals and plastics) by the materials scientist Mark Miodownik


  • read this webpage on materials science
  • fun facts about ceramics
  • discuss recycling; video on e-waste
  • please take this class survey
  • if you have a school-issued laptop, please enter your laptop # on this spreadsheet (this is so that you are given access to software needed for the robotics unit)
  • assignment of Professional Interview - due March 30th


  • begin Unit 3.1 Machine Control
  • build a VEX testbed using these instructions
  • complete the activities in this packet


Covid-19 Update: As you surely know, you will not be returning to the school building anytime soon. The school will be closed through April 5th, and quite possibly much longer. Instruction, however, will resume using digital, online means. Towards the end of next week (around 3/26), you can expect to hear from me. We will begin to work together. We will figure this out. Take care of yourself, get some needed rest, and practice social distancing. I'll be in touch. [3.17.20]


You should have received an email from me on 3/25. Be sure to read it.



The assignment for Week 1 of Remote Learning was sent out by email on 4/7. It is due 4/9.


All future communication will be by email. Please let me know if you are not receiving my emails, which come at least once per week.