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Innovation Studios

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  Canonsburg Middle School has had a strong focus on the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math since long before “STEM” became the buzzword of education. As progressive content has always been a hallmark of CMS, and because cross-curricular connections are strongly supported by the middle school philosophy, Canonsburg Middle School has also provided its students with strong experiences in the areas of Art, Electronics and Design. These seven separate areas intersect and combine numerous times throughout the diverse curriculum at Canonsburg Middle School. 
     The driving force at CMS has consistently been and will continue to be educating the whole child. Providing opportunities for our students to learn and grow in hands-on, developmentally appropriate environments is critical for their development of academic excellence, and is just one more reason to Expect the Best at CMS!

Seventh Grade

   Design & Analysis

Mr. Michael Maffei

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     Students are introduced to SolidWorks, a parametric design software package, to complete specific 3D models which incorporate different features of the program. Students will also use West Point Bridge Designer to build and simulate a bridge design, calculate for material use and scale reduction. Finally, students will work in teams to draw a set of working plans to construct their bridge. During the construction phase of the bridge project, students learn about different types of wood joints, tension and compression forces and team work skills. Once students complete their bridge construction, they will see their final design destructively tested so they can analyze how the structure performed as compared to their simulated design.

  Interactive Digital Design

Mr. Brian Herrig

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     Students are introduced to the concepts of programming. Students are given a basic overview of what programming is and what its applications can include. During the programming unit, students use reverse engineering and discovery learning to analyze and program a basic video game using Game Maker, a video game design software package. The final component of this course allows the students to explore programming on their own by creating a video game of their own design. The students draft a proposal of what their game will involve prior to beginning work and their final game is presented to the class.

  Materials Fabrication

Mr. Eric Mychalishyn

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     Students are introduced to various methods of materials fabrication within a production lab setting. Through whole class demonstrations, students see the difference between custom manufacturing and mass production in terms of quality and quantity of output. The concepts of just-in-time manufacturing are discussed throughout the activity. Automated manufacturing is introduced through the use of a CNC (Computer Numeric Control) router. Students utilize a variety of tools, machines and fixtures during the production run. The output for this activity is a wooden folding stool.

  Visual Arts 7

Mrs. Lauren Bizich

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     In seventh grade, the focus is on developing the student’s technique and skill in various mediums. Students will explore how art is defined, why it is valued and understand that art is created for a variety of purposes in numerous forms. Students will develop power of observation and artistic problem solving. The elements and principles of design are included within each lesson. Students will work with medias such as clay, watercolors, drawing tools and printmaking materials.

 

Eighth Grade

 

   Automation & Robotics

Mr. Eric Mychalishyn

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     Students will explore several applications of automation technology. Students will first be introduced to the Arduino Microcontroller.  After learning about the electronics theory and basic electronic components they will build electric circuits on a solderless breadboard and use the C++ programming language to make these circuits interactive.  Next, students will program the Arduino to control robotic vehicles that will navigate through a maze.  The second form of automation students explore is CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) with the aid of a CNC (Computer Numeric Control) router. Students will use SolidWorks software to create 3D models.  They will then use MasterCam software to generate a toolpath, a process in which the lines of the drawing are converted to the cutting path that the machine will follow.

  Creative Design

Mr. Brian Herrig

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     Students are given an overview of many of the fundamentals of graphic communication. The communication process is discussed as it relates to graphics as well as other forms of communication. The elements and principles of design are introduced as they relate to the projects that the students complete. Students learn about editing digital photographs using Adobe Photoshop Elements. Microsoft Publisher is used to complete a variety of desktop publishing projects, including flyers, greeting cards and posters. Wacom digital drawing tablets are integrated with Corel Painter Essentials to allow students to freehand draw directly into the computer to create their own custom images for use in projects. Students learn how to incorporate various graphics, student created as well as stock images into their projects. Students are able to output their designs using a black and white laser printer, a color laser printer and a laser engraver. A laser engraver is a machine capable of transforming images and designs into real items made of a variety of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, fabric, glass, leather, stone and ceramic. Students are encouraged to help each other with design and technical issues throughout the course.

  Digital Systems & Electronics

Mr. Michael Maffei

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     Students are introduced to web design through HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) coding. Students develop graphic layouts for personal interest web sites using Adobe Photoshop Elements. Each element of the layout is then coded for web display using HTML 5 and animated using both CSS 3.0 and JavaScipt. Upon completion, students can request that their websites be made public so they can view them from outside the school.

  Visual Arts 8

Mrs. Lauren Bizich

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     In eighth grade art a more student directed approach is used where lessons will revolve around student personalities, interests, beliefs and ideas. Style, media, inspiration will be explored and students will have the benefit of more choices and decision making so as to begin to discover their own particular style as an artist.