Signature Course: Science & Technology

Emma McBride, Staff Writer

A whole semester of a student’s freshman year at LASA has almost come to an end, which, for SciTech students, means that the day of the infamous final project has finally come. Their hands are shaking as they pick up their device, place it on the playing field, and press the trigger ever so slowly. The whole team and their teacher watch as their device slowly but surely completes the task flawlessly.

As part of the magnet curriculum for freshman, students are required to take two semester-long signature courses unique to LASA, in addition to four core classes and a foreign language class. One of the freshman signature courses is Electronic Magazine, referred to as “Ezine,” and the other is Science and Technology, known as “SciTech.” SciTech has three teachers, all located downstairs in LASA’s “dungeon” next to the wood and metal shop. Science teacher Amy Moore teaches both SciTech and the elective Engineering Design.

“SciTech is a course where the students have to work together to design a device that is limited to 3 Joules of energy, under 5 dollars, and can only use mousetraps, rubber bands, and gravity to solve some random mechanical challenge that we come up with,” Moore said.

According to freshman Mary Martinez, SciTech doesn’t have the best reputation among LASA students. However, she doesn’t think that incoming freshmen should worry about the intensity of the course.

“Everyone expects SciTech to be some horribly stressful class that scares the crap out of people, but I think it’s only stressful if you make it stressful,” Martinez said. “I’d tell new freshmen to go in with an open mind and remember to not freak out because it’s gonna be okay.”

This kind of information is good to have before taking SciTech, according to Martinez, but there are also some factors that students can’t predict. “Mini-challenges” which are one or two-day engineering projects which highlight key SciTech skills like teamwork or spreadsheets, often are difficult for students. Freshman Marta Knoll was one of many who struggled with the mini-challenges during her semester.

“The fan lab was my least favorite activity,” Knoll said. “That was where we had to build this device that had to be pushed by a fan, and we did it for two days, and on the second day, you had to make your device go a greater distance than the first day. The first day we were great, and the second day we did terribly.”

Sometimes SciTech can be unpredictable, and students often do not do as well as they want to. Moore had advice for students when a SciTech assignment doesn’t go their way.

“There are sometimes where the workload is pretty light, but then when you’re in the time of the DR, the final report, and everything’s due, workload gets fairly heavy, but if you keep up on everything you should be able to get it done in class, it’s just a matter of actually doing the work when given the time,” Moore said.