Freshmen Art

All freshmen machine and sand their own six-sided die. All freshmen machine and sand their own six-sided die.

Learn more about the freshmen curriculum

If you were to walk into the second period engineering class, you would find 104  freshmen buzzing around the ECEE building steadily constructing their own masterpieces. These students are rotating through four different art projects, with the goal of building knowledge in machining, geometry, and developing an artistic side to build things that look aesthetically pleasing while utilizing their engineering knowledge.

The first project they are working on is a necklace. This project is intended to enhance their machining skills, specifically on the lathe. A cylindrical piece of aluminum serves as the base of the necklace, which is then cut on the lathe, polished, and strung onto a chain. Another project focusing on the machines is the dice project. A rough piece of aluminum is shaped on the mill into a smooth cube and then dimpled (to create the numbers).

Outside of the machine shop, the Lindsay Rose room is just as busy. Our very own Diana Hemsley, the head art teacher in the Engineering Academy, takes us through the projects in here. The freshmen are constructing pyramids, which they are “building in a hollow form rather than a solid state” explains Hemsley. “And then they are decorating them with geometric designs painted by hand.” Before diving right into elaborate geometric designs, Diana builds up proper art knowledge for her students to better understand what they are painting with. “Prior to the assembly [of the pyramid] they are doing a series of color wheel/color theory projects to learn and understand how to use colors.”

They are also doing a progressive design painting, which includes a series of geometric patterns becoming more detailed as it goes down the page. “They’re utilizing their knowledge of geometry and color theory to paint the progressive design which will be similar to the design that they incorporate into their pyramid.” The class of 2016 is rotating through every room in the building, learning different techniques along the way, which they can directly apply to their projects. Under Ms. Ritter’s advisement, they learn the physics of constructing a pyramid, and in the computer room with Harlow to CAD up the dice and necklace bead. “We are putting them in the space they need best so they can make their next move,” says Hemsley. “So, they are in a constant state of flux and rotation.”


Hemsley sums up the Engineering Academy’s goal perfectly, in the freshmen class and throughout the academy: “Every thing that we are doing is ultimately trying to broaden all the students’ understanding of the concept of project based learning and how so many things in life really go together to solve problems. Our goal is to create really good problem solvers and thinkers, that when given a challenge, can use all of the knowledge that they have and ask the right questions to solve those problems. So ultimately in the year of the robot, we are hoping that after three years of us picking your brains and giving you tasks to think about, you guys can jump on that whole concept and drive it in the direction it needs to go.”