CJ students who took a field trip to a putt-putt golf entertainment center didn't just go for fun, it was a chance for them to learn about the creation process of miniature golf courses.
Students in the Introduction to Engineering Design class, as part of the Project Lead the Way curriculum, were given the concept to design a miniature golf course as part of a team. The team members could only discuss the project as an entire group, face-to-face, one time, which was during the field trip. All other communication had to be done electronically, simulating what it's like when companies have employees all over the world working on the same project from different locations.
"This was a real opportunity for them to experience some of those challenges," said teacher Eric Grimm. "They learned a lot about communicating across boundaries and barriers, and working together as a team."
Patrick Hillier, an architect with John Poe Architects and a member of the American Institute of Architect's Dayton Chapter, attended the field trip and was a resource for the students.
"Besides enjoying playing miniature golf , I actually helped work on one course design during my first job many years ago," said Hillier.
The students had two weeks to pick their miniature golf course theme and design the nine holes.
"Our group did a video game theme, and it was interesting how we fit together all different types of games and eras of games," said Paul Wittmann '18, who was the project manager for his group. "We had classics like Pong and Pac-Man, to modern games like Minecraft and Zelda."
During the students' presentations, they explained what challenges a putt-putt player might face and the difficulty level of each course.
"I was excited to see how the doodles from the students' sketchbooks had developed into Autodesk inventor drawings," said Hillier. "We use a similar Autodesk product in our office, so I saw familiar images when they did their presentations."
"I really thought the project was able to show me what it is like to be an actual engineer," agreed Katarina Dranchak '16. "I enjoyed working with a group, and having to work together for a common goal in a certain amount of time, just like a real engineer would."
Grimm said he was pleased with the presentations, especially with the real-world challenges given to the students.
"That's an experience a lot of students don't get in their education," he said. "Students worked through those challenges to do this project with an end goal in mind."