EPICS Middle School Project Examples

The goal of EPICS Middle School program is to engage the students in the fields of engineering and technology while meeting a critical educational need of providing hands-on engineering and technical design opportunities. The EPICS curriculum provides an excellent framework based on the Next Generation Science Standards of blending the crosscutting concepts of cause and effect, scale and proportion along with structure and function while the students are designing engineering projects that meet the needs of the community.

Because the student projects are based on authentic needs within the community, the students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills which include the use of mathematical computations.  This authentic application of classroom skills and practices is essential for engaging the adolescent. The students are working in teams promoting positive communication between adults and students which encourages speaking and listening skills along with technical writing and reading.

Westpines Middle School

Memorial Garden

Westpine MS project for 2015-2016

The students in Mr. Perez's class worked with Weston Elementary school to design and build a puppet theatre for their Florida History Museum. The elementary students designed puppets and wrote plays that will educate the community of Florida's rich history.

Copper Ridge Middle School


Our goal is to create a curved bench that gives people somewhere to sit in our school garden. To highlight the tranquility of the garden, we will make a trellis where vines will hang from behind the bench. Below the bench there will be extra storage for gardening tools and other equipment.

Rebarbative Critter Blocker

The Rebarbative Critter Blocker (RCB) is a stable, customizable and efficient way to block out those pesky critters and keep everyone in a safe environment. It comes with two side pockets for any of your needs and it is easy to move up and down your fence to let water through, but strong enough to keep all of your troublesome neighborhood animals out!

Shade Homemade

Our project is designed to fit the needs of the students, teachers, custodians, and all others using the amphitheater on Copper Ridge campus. The structure blocks out the heat of the sun, but still provides sunlight by being semi-transparent for class photos. The Shade Homemade is retractable so that when it isn't needed it can easily be pulled back.

Our Green Garden

We decided to build Our Green Garden to help organize gardening tools. Our tool organizer includes many benefits such as; tubes to hold up tall shovels, rakes and other longer tools. It can also sort many different gloves by using the glove charts we created. The charts not only store but organize each pair of gloves so they are less likely to be lost or misplaced.

Kyrene Aprende Middle School

Teacher: Wendy Landis

Mobile Science Lab

Aprende Middle School Science teachers teach science in either a traditional lab or in regular classrooms because of our increased number of student and the limited number of actual labs. We have created three different models of mobile science labs. Each one has wheels, is sized to get through the doors of the classrooms easily, and has counters made of nonreactive materials with drop leaf counter extensions on either side for additional working space.

Version One: Deep sink with a pump and two water reservoirs one with clean water and one to capture the used water, and a cabinet with shelves and doors that close.

Version Two: Open cabinet with shelves that can be accessed on either side.

Version Three: Cabinet with doors that lock and shelves inside.

Teachers will be able to reserve any or all of them for specific dates and times via an online check out form. In addition, the teachers with actual science labs have asked for the ability to check them out for outdoor use, so we have made the wheels more rugged than originally design.


Examples of other EPICS Middle School Projects

Submitted by Kelly Smith and Brenda Farkas EPICS teachers at Glades Middle School, Miramar, Florida
  • The students identified that a student in our special needs population has a difficult time reaching his writing materials which are located in the backpack hanging from the back of his wheelchair. Students are designing a pencil cup that can attach to his wheelchair in a manner that will make it easier for him to reach his supplies.
  • Identification of learning needs for special needs population. Students discover that learning shapes, letters, numbers, and colors are difficult for several of the special needs students, and they also learned that manual dexterity is a challenge amongst these students. Student engineers are designing a shape sorter cube that can be printed on our 3D printer, thus making multiple cubes that are personalized for the specific needs of each student.
  • One group of student engineers interviewed a teacher in the school who identified a need for easily transporting multiple desks to other locations. This is frequently needed at the beginning and end of the school year, when many teachers are reassigned to different rooms. The current method of using the school’s flatbeds seems to be inefficient as it can only carry limited numbers of desks at a time. This group of students is designing a flatbed “train” system that will allow the desks to be stacked on a series of flatbeds that are then able to be linked together in a train fashion.
  • The need for a better media center cart is the focus of this group of engineers. They are designing a cart that addresses the need to hold many books in an organized fashion, thus making it easier to return them to the shelves in their proper location.
  • One of our special needs students and Silver Trail Middle School has difficulty holding his head upright, and it frequently flops over to one side or the other. One group of student engineers have designed a head-rest that straps on to his wheelchair and is modeled after the supports currently being used by NASCAR drivers.
  • One group of student engineers is developing a pencil grip that will aid the special needs students in handling their writing utensils. It focuses on a weighted design that helps the students orient their pencil to the paper better.
  • Several student engineers are working on the most efficient and cost-effective method of removing gum from desks and sidewalks. Our custodians are working with these students to help them perfect their methods.
  • We have a group of student engineers that are addressing the difficulty in motivating our physical education students to participate in healthy forms of physical activity. This group of engineers is working on developing a highly motivational menu of games that are both highly motivational and at the same time easily manageable given the high student to teacher ratio of our physical education classes.
  • Another group of student engineers are working with the custodial staff to develop a method of clearing clogged sprinklers, a common problem on our school campus. They are designing a small, spiked tube that can be printed using our 3D printer, and is inserted into the clogged sprinkler head in order to remove the obstruction.
  • Several students have identified organization of school supplies as being a need here at STMS. They are working on designing a backpack insert that can hold a variety of supplies such as pens, pencils, rulers, calculators, etc.
  • One group of students is working towards designing a garden that can be accessed and utilized by our special needs population. They are currently working on creating pre and posttests that will assess the benefit of having real life plants in order to teach the special needs population.
  • The students have identified that several wheelchair bound children have difficulty accessing tables in order to participate in everyday functions such as writing, drawing, etc. These student engineers are designing a lap desk that will be used to perform these activities.
  • We have a group of students who are developing a website that can be used to discreetly report instances of harassment by students, teachers, administrators, or anyone having a concern.
  • Several students have been working with a special needs student who has difficulty walking correctly. He frequently tip-toes everywhere he goes, which is not good for his development. This group of students is working towards developing a heel that can be attached to the bottom of his shoe and will provide pressure to the bottom of the foot, thus encouraging the child to put his weight down on it. They are being guided in this project by a local podiatrist, who has graciously agreed to assist in their project.
  • We have a group of students that are working towards creating a compost bin and a method for administering it here at our school
  • One group of students identified difficulty in finding classroom locations when visitors come to Silver Trail. They are working on developing a better system of numbering the rooms.
  • Student engineers from my fifth hour class are designing a board game that will help teach the developmentally disabled students how to pronounce their ABC’s, as well as some of the words they are having difficulty with.
  • I also have a group of students who are developing a backpack organization system based on a file system within the backpack, thus alleviating the need for heavy binders and multiple folders in the backpack.
  • One group of students is attempting to address the difficulty of maneuvering around the classroom with 20 plus backpacks scattered on the floor. They are designing a hook that can be attached to the desk in order to hold backpacks in a location that makes it easy to access their supplies and also keeps the floor space clear for moving around the room.
  • There is a group of student engineers that are developing tube-shaped handles that can be attached to the wheelchair of our disabled students in order to help improve their mobility.
  • Another group of students is working on creating a process for using suggestion boxes throughout the school, in order to encourage student, faculty and visitor input into improving all aspects of our school.