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Innovation, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship Courses

Innovation, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship Courses


Northwood's Innovation, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship (IEE) Department provides academically rigorous programming and thought provoking courses which challenge students to think creatively and problem-solve as they develop key 21st century skills.  The goal of the department is to encourage students to foster a cross-disciplinary, innovative and entrepreneurial thought process.  Through a project-based model, our students will take risks and experience inquiry-based firsthand learning. 

Northwood School Robotics Courses

This curriculum offers beginner and advanced sections and is intended to introduce students to hands-on, project-based applications of the engineering process. Students design, build, test and program robots, utilizing the programming languages and logic skills covered in the course curriculum. Students will develop logic skills, gain proficiency in appropriate programming languages and will develop an intimate understanding of the engineering design process and the mechanical, electrical, and software components of robotics. Students in both courses will have the opportunity to compete on one of the Northwood robotics teams at national/international high school robotics competitions. Integration of 3D printing design and modeling is intended to support skill development in all areas of this course.

Introduction to Robotics and Computer Programming

Trimester elective; Open to all levels.

This course will focus on basic skill development and requires no programming experience. Students will be members of the Northwood VEX EDR robotics team (Team #12946), designing and building robots for the VEX Robotics Competition (during the winter trimester). Students will face game specific engineering challenges and will be required to develop the necessary skills to build effective robots. A thorough introduction to robot programming using Robot C will help students develop fundamental programming-based logic skills. Grading in this course is based on successful completion of projects and level of proficiency in skill areas.

Applied Robotics

Honors-level year-long course.

This course is designed to be an intermediate/advanced level course and students are expected to have a basic knowledge or experience with logic and computer programming. Students will be members of the Northwood FIRST FRC robotics team (Team #6300). Students will design and build industrial robots from scratch – mastering the fundamental concepts in the process. Mechanical assembly, drive train design, electrical wiring, Java programming, mechanical engineering and robot command, and control are skills students will develop in this process. This course will employ advanced 3D printing tools and develop skills for 3D model and part design. Grading in this course is based on successful completion of projects and level of proficiency in skill areas.

Introduction to 3D Modeling and Fabrication

Trimester elective; Open to all levels.

This course introduces modern 3D design, modeling and fabrication skills. Students learn basic CAD drawing and assembly skills to create software-based models. Spatial resolution, dimensioning and part integration skills are developed through a series of design projects. Students develop an understanding of CAD software and file management in the creation of 3D parts. 3D printing, CNC (computer numeric control) routing and laser cutting/engraving machines are utilized to bring CAD designs to life. Students are trained in the use of these machines and develop an understanding of the design and prototyping process from start to finish. Finally, model evaluation, fabrication troubleshooting, and quality control techniques give students who complete the course the ability to design, draw and create their own high-end products.

Innovation with Design Thinking

Trimester elective; Open to all levels.

Where do great ideas come from and how are the physically realized? The Innovation and Design Thinking course grows creative thinking and supports the “building” of projects through a wide range of tools and materials. Projects and prototypes will be built from kernels of an idea generated in brainstorming, that are brought to life in sketches and plans, then transformed into actual builds using multiple iterations and modeling. Students will learn to use both digital and hands-on tools including Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, hand tools, power tools, the C & C machine, the laser cutter, 3-D printers and more. Students will also learn and practice effective communication skills by sharing and proposing solutions, working with teams of collaborators, and marketing and presenting their work. This course is for anyone who wants to be creative, sees him or herself as a dreamer or maker, or anyone who would like to become one.

Rocket Science

Spring or Fall trimester elective.

In this hands-on course, the design process will be emphasized as students incorporate science, computer modeling, engineering, and math to design, build, and launch their model rockets. Teamwork and problem solving will also be important skills developed over the course of the trimester.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Year-long course.

Entrepreneurship is the process of growing ideas into a viable business or organization, and the entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset of how one approaches problems and proposes solutions. In the first trimester, the course will cover some of the basics of entrepreneurial management, marketing, and finance needed to launch new businesses. Students will acquire a toolkit for identifying and forming a new venture including creative thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication. In the second trimester, students will have the opportunity to formulate great ideas, turn them into business plans, and deliver on new technologies, products, and services. In the third trimester, Northwood students working in small groups will partner with local entrepreneurs and businesses to develop solutions to existing problems. Teamwork will be critical as the answers to these issues will not be found in a book. Students will utilize the various strengths of their teammates to create sophisticated solutions validated through research, interviews, and fieldwork.

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