What is happening at SVGS? – Technology and Engineering 2014-15


Students are continuing their study of JavaScript as the semester starts.  We had figured out how to draw die faces last semester and now we will use that code to aid in programing a dice game. We will learn about loops and conditional statements while programing this game.  The game will also draw the dice on the screen. We will begin the semester on learning animation with Flash.  This will give everyone a chance to do some simple drawing and expand on his or her programing skills.  Afterwards, we will move on to digital video.


The class is working on projects that will help the students prepare for the AP exam at the end of the year.  We are working with Arrays and ArrayLists which will get us ready to tackle the new labs.  The labs are  real world project. One is a lab that will work with digital images and process these images in ways that are similar to how PhotoShop does some of its image processing.  Another lab is related to writing a chat bot similar to one that can be found on the web.  It is simpler but gives the students an idea of how the chat bot is programed.



This course covered the basics of the OSI 7 layer model for networking , learning the basic network protocols, and their intended uses, understanding the basic command line tools needed to administer Linux and Windows operating systems and learning the basics of languages used to create web sites on Linux server:  Perl, PHP and JavaScript.  Over the holidays Mr. York bought copies of  the book titled Countdown to Zero Day for students to read.  It is about the Stuxnet virus and how it was discovered and how it came into being.  The hope was that the students would have a better appreciation for the need for cyber security and the importance of the class.  The second semester will concentrate on areas such as web site security and attacks, encryption, and analysis of network attacks. Second semester, this class will dual enrolment with Radford University in the area of network security.  Tuition is funded by a National Science Foundation grant with Radford University.


Students in a national competition by taking three online quizzes in core areas of Networking, Operating Systems, and Scripting administered by CyberAces.  All students place above the 50th percentile in this national competition.

The following students placed above the 75th percentile nationally:

Stowe Graham, Josh Allen, Ailec Wu





Picture9 Picture10ENGINEERING I

The Engineering Design Process (EDP) forms the unifying theme for our SVGS Introduction to Engineering course.  Students explored case studies and applied the EDP to various design problems as we began the year.  We then completed a unit on orthographic sketching and translated those skills to computer-aided design.  Students learned the basics of Rhinoceros 4.0, our CAD software package, and in project teams developed a design for an SVGS keepsake.

Picture8We discussed the forces at work within a structure and developed a mathematical understanding of the compressive and tensile forces in a truss.  As their final project for the semester, students researched an authentic bridge and created a scale model of the bridge out of pasta.

In early October, students visited the Lycra® spandex facility in Waynesboro and spoke with a variety of engineers about their roles in the R&D and manufacturing processes.

Mr. Alex Sullivan, a mechanical engineer and project manager from McKee Foods, also visited our class and shared his background and highlights of his work.

In the second semester, engineering students will focus on electrical and computer applications with particular emphasis on digital electronics.



This semester, nine seniors completed a dual enrollment class, Introduction to Engineering with Dr. James Groves, UVA. (All shown above.) The course is delivered on-line and requires extensive group collaboration   SVGS students formed an Engineering Design Team (EDT). Each team studied and practiced the engineering design process as they identified problems, researched possibilities, brainstormed solutions, identified constraints and established their design spaces. The teams choose transportation related challenges as they sought to improve safety and efficiency as well as reducing air pollution from cars.

Prototypes included an automated parking assist (21st century curb feeler), turbocharger and carbon dioxide filter. Students gained insight and confidence as they consider future engineering careers.

The class culminated in presentations at UVA last December. heard presentations  by students from other schools such as Albermarle, Charlottesville, Greene and Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School.

The focus of Engineering II this spring will be embedded systems and micro-controllers, featuring Arduino-based projects and culminating in the Virginia Tech Makers Conference in April. These SVGS students will be well prepared for their future studies in engineering.



Eng II 001



GIS began the year with a unit on maps and the basic workings of ArcGIS.  They quickly moved on from simple assignments that showed them how to use the tools of ArcGIS to doing mini-projects and tutorials.  

Their first big mini-project involved a trip to Frontier Culture Museum to study one of the farms and research a question about their specific farm.Students used the data they collected to make their own maps of the Frontier Culture Museum.  Students also collected data at the museum about tree health and made that data into maps as well.  GIS ended the semester with a midterm examining the effects of hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.  Students had to analyze the data and determine the best way to help the residents after the hurricane and make a presentation in front of JMU professors.  They did a great job.

gis 2GIS1

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