Engineering & Technology at SVGS


Students have worked with Audio editing with Audition and Photoshop, both are part of the Adobe Suite programs.  The students have worked hard and accomplished much.  They are learning how to edit digital photos they have taken with Photoshop now.  This is the most fun part of the class for many students because it combines art, creativity and humor.


In APCS the class is working on programing projects in Java that are aimed at learning about data structures and how to build a Class in Java.  As we build a foundation for their work we are learning about algorithms and how to think through a programing problem.  Students just finished working on a program to play the dice game Craps and a vending machine problem that will sell snacks and return the correct change.


SVGS students are competing in the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Defense competition called CyberPatriots.

From “The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. In the rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services.”

SVGS has two teams of five students and one team of three students in the competition.  They have already completed an exhibition round and a training round, and are currently working on the final practice round before competition starts  They are looking for vulnerabilities or configuration errors that the CyberPatriot staff has added to Ubuntu, Debian, Windows 10, and Server 2016 images.

Students have practiced using software that allows them to run a virtual image of another operating system on their school computers or their own laptops.  SVGS and CyberPatriots use VMware Workstation Player to run virtual images.  For the majority of the first quarter, the students studied a version of the Linux operating system called Ubuntu.  Many Internet servers and most security software runs on Linux, so knowledge of Linux will be useful for anyone considering work in the cyber security field, or information technology in general.  At least one of the competition images in each round of CyberPatriots is Linux.  The other images are Windows 10 or Server 2016.

The students have recently moved into a module on Networking.  CyberPatriots teams have access to selected modules from the Cisco Networking Academy, which is professional online instruction for industry networking certifications.  Students will complete simple network labs using basic network components (switches and routers) as well as completing network simulations using Cisco Packet Tracer software.  Packet Tracer will be featured in the CyberPatriots rounds.

These are photos of our students at their workstations as they solve problems in the CyberPatriots practice round.


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

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 the Traffic Jam project as well as surveying and bridge design. The forces on stationary objects was explored using statics.

Mechanical drawing and Autodesk Inventor are next on the syllabus. Students will develop their drafting skills and use 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 will culminate with a unit on energy and machines.

Engineering II students also did some rapid prototyping but their primary focus of was building drones. Students developed mechanical, electronic & programming skills as they assembled DJI F 450 quadcopters. Communication and videography skills were required to produce assembly instructions. Students are currently fine-tuning the RC controls and developing their piloting skills in collaboration with Mr. Nylander.The historical and scientific background for working with drones was developed through research into the history of flight along with the study of fluids, including buoyancy, drag, lift and<em> thrust. Fluid mechanical concepts were examined through an airfoil design project. Autodesk Inventor was used to create 3D wing sections which were then tested in a simulated wind tunnel using Flow Design. The relationship between theoretical and practical designs should help with future projects and drone flights.

Engineering II students are also exploring 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 will be applied in their long-term project proposals. The next unit will focus on thermodynamics and energy systems.



GIS students have just finished their first big project where they use data within maps to show how to evacuate an area after an interstate accident.  The incident occurred in Springfield, Virginia in 1999 when a truck containing black powder overturned on a ramp.  Students had to determine the safe zones, shelters, evacuation routes, and detours in a very busy section of the state called the “mixing bowl”.  This project was the first major project of the year and is preparing them to work with hurricanes for their midterm exam, beginning with Katrina.


This part of the course is exploring the OSI model of the internet.  How does a message get from computer A to the user on computer B. We are discussing the protocols and using Wireshark, a packet-sniffing program, to follow some network traffic.  The network traffic should illustrate what we are discussing in class.  The image below is a Wireshark capture.