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The sixth cohort of Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP) students presented design ideas for their initial project, a bird nesting box for a cavity-dwelling bird species native to the Delmarva Peninsula. The winning design was created by Christian Charbonneau, and was based on his grandfather's barn. The students will also manufacture a bat box nursery, designed by Bailey Kalinowski.

Students began the project by researching birds at Atkins Arboretum and visiting with the Caroline County Bird Club. Following this phase, they each chose a bird and designed a nesting box specific to that bird species. Then came ‘pitch day’ when students each presented their design to business partners, school officials, government representatives, and their classmates. Following the presentation, the winning design was determined by audience vote.

Teacher Keith Hale explained how this program has changed how he teaches and what students learn. “Prior to the AMP Program, I would tell them to build a birdhouse,” Hale said. “I would give them the wood, a pattern, point them in the direction of the power tools, and let them go.” Hale explained that some birdhouses were well-built and others “not so much.” In the end, the student got a grade and a birdhouse.

“Now the AMP Program teaches students about the manufacturing process from design to sale of the final product, and then produces a product following that same process,” Mr. Hale said. He explained that the process moves from research, design, napkin sketching, blueprint production, Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) programming and operation, processing of raw materials into finished goods, cutting, sanding, staining, painting, assembly and sales.

Once production of the nesting boxes is complete, students will once again make presentations to an audience and offer the product for sale.  

For more information about the AMP Program, please visit carolinetech.org.

All event photos are available on the CCPS Flickr page.