Engineering & Technology at SVGS

YEAR 2020-21



APCS students have worked hard and accomplished a great deal. We have worked with much of the content that we need for the AP exam. That means that second semester will be spend picking up a few new content areas and honing our skills with what we have learned. These will add to our knowledge and it will provide a way to review “old” material.students have worked hard and accomplished much. They can be proud of themselves for all they have achieved.


SEMESTER 1:The Cyber Security Operations class has three teams participating in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, or Cyber Patriots (  Teams are given Windows 10, Windows Server, and Ubuntu Linux computers (virtual machines.)  They must answer forensics questions, find and fix insecure security configurations, and remove malware from those computers.  The teams are also given a quiz and network configuration from the Cisco Networking Academy.  Each round of the competition is online and lasts six hours.  Our teams have completed Round 1 and Round 2; all three teams placed in the top 25% nationally in Round 2.  Round 3 will be held January 22—wish us luck!

SVGS Cyber Security class competing as three teams in the Cyber Patriots competition 12/11/20.



Engineering I began with rapid prototyping of newspaper towers. The engineering design process was explained and experienced. Students also identified and imagined solutions for some of the many big challenges facing modern society. The reverse engineering of friction cars, readings from To Engineer is Human, and research into famous engineering failures helped to promote hands-on skills as well as an awareness of the limitations of engineering design.

Engineering design teams were formed based on personality profiles and skills assessments. Teamwork and collaboration are important aspects of engineering. With kinematics and dynamics providing mathematical models, we began our study of moving objects. Civil engineering was introduced through mapping, surveying and the bridge design project. The forces on stationary objects was explored using statics.

Mechanical drawing and Autodesk Inventortm were next on the syllabus. Students developed their drafting skills and used them to design ABS (plastic) brackets for 3D printing and testing. This introduction to mechanical engineering will include torque and finite element analysis through problems and Autodesk simulations. The first semester culminated with a unit on energy and machines.

The place where the blue lines are is where the bracket broke. The bracket broke in these places because we had no force to resist torque on the bracket.



Engineering II students also did some rapid prototyping but their primary focus of was learning about and flying drones. Students developed mechanical, electronic & programming skills as they repaired and refit the DJI F 450 quadcopters. Mathematical modelling and signal control was explored through the PID controller Lab. With that in mind, students spent time fine-tuning the RC controls and developing their piloting skills.

The historical and scientific background for working with drones was developed through research into the history of flight along with the study of fluid mechanics, including buoyancy, drag, lift and thrust. Drone applications were also researched and imagined. The relationship between theoretical and practical designs should help students with future projects and drone flights.

Engineering II students also explored the impact of the industrial revolution on modern society and how innovative thinking and modern technology may be applied to meeting current societal challenges. Students grasp of these concepts can be applied in their long-term project proposals. The last unit focused on thermodynamics and energy systems and culminated in the building of an energy conversion system model.

Model Stirling Engine

Windmill Gearbox



This semester we made virtual Mondays into ArcGIS online days and students learned how to use insight, Urban, dashboards, and online analysis. They explored the ocean floor with depth sounding by taking readings from a closed box with a simulated ocean floor.  They were able to take use the readings and the Lat/Long coordinates on the box, put them into a map and make them three dimensional. 

Students also researched a potentially explosive situation that occurred in Springfield, Virginia and determined how to make detours for the interstates and escape routes for residents to shelters and the effects of flooding from Hurricane Katrina.  Their midterms included a traffic incident on a bridge, a train incident in Philadelphia, Chesapeake Bay flooding predicted for climate change, and the wind effects from Hurricane Katrina.

Next semester they will begin their own research projects using GIS as we learn how to use more tools.


SEMESTER 1: Students worked hard and learned about data and data analysis, lists, sequences, loops, conditional expressions and functions. Each topic we covered this semester will be a tool for the next semester. See an example of student work below.


SEMESTER 1: Students in the SVGS Machine Learning class have spent the first semester studying the application of classic machine learning techniques such as Support Vector Machines, Random Forest, and Ensemble Learning models. The students have taught a computer to read handwritten digits, detect the factors that lead to diabetes and cancer, and calculated housing prices from features of the house. The students have also completed their own projects studying data as diverse as tennis matches to predicting seizures.