Mechatronics Engineering (Grades 10 -11)

by Jim Burnham

Mechatronics is a year-long, 519-hour Laboratory Science course focusing on the scientific principles of physics, energy conservation, electronic sensing, computerized data acquisition, and automated process control. This Mechatronics Engineering course is designed to introduce students to the growing field of mechatronics. Mechatronics is a blending of electrical and mechanical engineering & design. It is a study of the design of "intelligent" systems in which mechanization and control, requiring sensing, actuation, and computation are combined to achieve improved product quality and performance.

In this inquiry-grounded, project-based learning course, students act as engineers, designing, analyzing, and building systems that automate industrial processes. Students will engage in interdisciplinary learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) through a hands-on, project-based approach. Students who complete this curriculum will have the understanding of mechanical and electronic systems. Students will learn how to analyze and debug mechanical assemblies, motors and control systems. Students will learn the function of programmable logic controllers (PLC) and other programmable devices. Students will receive introductory level exploratory instruction on topics including proper use of hand tools, machinery tools, print reading, robotics, pneumatics, electrical control, basic concepts of mechanical and electrical engineering, computer-aided design (CAD), and real world applications of these concepts. Depth of knowledge will be demonstrated through a series of projects starting with research and initial design and culminating with the completion of a build project that is geared toward solving real-world problems. Class projects will include robotics, industrial automation, industrial process control, pneumatics, and electro-mechanical systems. Essentially, activities in this course include work-based learning that connects students to industry and the local community.

The focus of this program is to educate and train a new generation of students who understand both mechanical and electrical systems that make up an industrial manufacturing and robotic infrastructure. Mechatronics is designed to prepare students for employment in the manufacturing industry. Upon completion, students may be employed in Mechatronics and Electronics related career paths, in engineering, industrial packaging, maintenance, and robotic systems.


Program Information
Course Certification Elements
Course Standards
California's 2013 CTE Standards (27)
Course Competencies / Outcomes

Career Ready:

  • Demonstrate positive verbal communication skills
  • Read and interpret written information and directions
  • Demonstrate positive teamwork skills
  • Practice diversity awareness and sensitivity in the workplace
  • Define sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Demonstrate appropriate attendance and punctuality
  • Prepare a resume, cover letter, and job application form
  • Describe appropriate interviewing techniques
  • Practice workplace dress and grooming standards

Mechatronics & Industrial Safety:

  • Demonstrate the importance of maintaining personal and occupational safety when working with industrial systems, robotic equipment and hardware.  
  • Practiced Emergency Procedures, Safety hazard reporting
  • General shop safety rules and procedures
  • Understand the Procedure for reporting a work-related hazard or injury.  
  • Practice Lock-Out and Tag-Out procedures (LOTO)

Ethics & Technology:

  • Understands the purpose the U.S. Patriot Act and the Computer Security Act; The COPPA - Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act; The HIPAA- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • Understands the ethics of maintaining privacy of others
  • Respects intellectual property rights; and understands Common copyright and plagiarism violations and infringements (e.g., software, media, etc.)

Hardware Fundamentals:

  • Can Identify the purpose of key components and system modules common in PCs, Embedded systems, PLC, and Robotics
  • Demonstrate basic procedures for debugging, upgrading or replacing common field replaceable modules

AC/DC Electronic Fundamentals:

  • Understands the relationship of voltage, current and resistance as it relates to DC and AC circuits
  • Demonstrates an understanding of Series and Parallel circuits. Can calculate, construct and debug simple circuits on a breadboard (resistors, capacitors, LED, transistors, timers, Op-Amps, Logic, etc)
  • Can use test and measurement equipment (voltmeters, oscilloscopes, in-line and clamp-on ammeters, etc.)

Digital Electronic Fundamentals:

  • Understands basic logic concepts, digital integrated circuits, combinational logic, sequential logic, typical digital circuits 6.2.    Can convert and apply decimal binary and hexadecimal expressions
  • Experienced with TTL & CMOS logic gates, Counters, FlipFlops, Shift registers, pseudorandom bit sequences and noise generation
  • Familiar with Computers, Microcontrollers (Arduino and Raspberry Pi) and data links, including IIC, SPI and serial

Coding & Hardware Applications:

  • Has basics of programming in the C++ and Python programming language
  • Can program, load and configure Arduino and Raspberry Pi devices
  • Is able to interface digital and analog I/O, connecting sensors, switches, motors and servos to interact with the real world.  

Linux, Cygwin, Command Line Scripting:

  • Demonstrate how to use the LINUX command-line interface
  • Use command line syntax to run python scripts, launch Open CV and other tools
  • Can control IoT devices at the command line level

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC):

  • Experience with PLC programming, Ladder logic, control systems
  • Exposure includes two-step, continuous, proportional, integral, and PID   Open and Closed Loop system design and implementation
  • Convert and apply decimal binary and hexadecimal expressions

Robotic Theory and Application:

  • Familiar with FANUC Industrial Robots
  • Can Startup, Shutdown, Jog the robot
  • Able to create and Edit Motion programs

Pneumatics Systems

  • Has Understanding of pneumatics circuits Pneumatic power systems, including pressure, volume, flow & speed control
  • Connected and operated Single & double acting cylinder circuits
  • Can calculate force output of a cylinder under varying conditions and loads

Mechanical 3D design:

  • Can demonstrate hand draw mechanical designs
  • Can translate hand drawn design to a 3D CAD program
  • Can create original 3D designs and modify existing designs
  • Can implement design on a 3D Printer.

Technology Mathematics:

  • Apply technical notations when calculating rates and capacities
  • Convert and apply decimal binary and hexadecimal expressions


Course Work Based Learning Activities


Industry Field-trips:

  • 4 Field trip opportunities to tour local Engineering companies and employers

Class Activities:

  • Goal is to have 2 Guest Speakers every month (work with Educational Advisory Board)
  • Skype  additional professionals
  • Industry Webinars (get on email list for all related Industry Sectors)
  • LinkedIn - have all students create LinkedIn accounts
  • Integrate Local Meetup events

Competition Based Events:

Internships:

  • Limited opportunities will be provided to selected students based on academic capability and  industry partner needs. Not all students will be selected to participate.

Course Materials
Course Units (520 hour course)

Unit 1: - Introduction to Mechatronics and Industrial Safety

Unit Length (Hours): 15

Unit Description:   Students will explore the importance of maintaining personal and occupational safety when working with industrial systems, robotic equipment
Mechanical, Electrical and Computer hardware.

  • Emergency Procedures
  • Safety hazard reporting
  • Cyber ethics, cyber safety, and cyber security
  • General shop safety rules and procedures
  • Types of hazardous waste, safety issues, and proper handling and disposal procedures
  • Personal safety practices to and from the job
  • Procedure for reporting a work-related hazard or injury
  • Effects of substance abuse in the workplace
  • Immediate, potential, and hidden hazards
  • Housekeeping tasks related to maintaining a safe work environment
  • Safety test with a perfect score prior to operating equipment
  • Proper safe use of tools and equipment
  • Identify safety color codes and their uses
  • Lock-out and tag-out procedures (LOTO)

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students can demonstrate the importance of maintaining personal and occupational safety when working with industrial systems, robotic equipment and hardware.  They have studied Emergency Procedures, Safety hazard reporting, General shop safety rules and procedures. They understand the Procedure for reporting a work-related hazard or injury.  They understand Lock-out and tag-out procedures (LOTO)

Unit Assessment:   Peer and self-assessment, written reports, safety tests, observation, visual inspections

Unit 2 AC/DC Electronic Fundamentals

Unit Length (Hours): 60

Unit Description:   Students will explore the Fundamentals of Electronics. The basic principles and hands-on skills of electronics, such as voltage, current and resistance/reactance relationships in AC and DC circuits.  Students will learn to calculate the values, and construct, series and parallel circuits. They will understand the theory of operation and industrial applications of transistors and integrated circuits, as well as learn to use test and measurement equipment (voltmeters, oscilloscopes, in-line and clamp-on ammeters, etc.).

  • Electronics 101
  • Electricity and Magnetism - How are waves used to transfer energy and to send and store information?
  • Study the relationship of voltage, current and resistance, signals, capacitors and inductors, transformers, and diodes in DC and AC circuits
  • Basic transistor circuits, amplifier building blocks, negative feedback, typical transistor circuits, field-effect transistors, FET linear circuits, JFETs, FET switches, Power MOSFETs, MOSFETs in linear applications
  • Introduction to op-amps, basic op-amp circuits, typical op-amp circuits, feedback , differential, and instrumentation amplifiers
  • Passive  and active-filter circuits
  • Oscillators and timers
  • Low-noise techniques
  • Emergency Procedures and Safety hazards

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students can demonstrate they can solve series and parallel circuit calculations.  They can construct and test electronics circuits.  Students will be able to describe the reason for using current limiting resistors and what values are appropriate for a give circuit.  Students will be able to design and construct simple transistor based switch, amplifier circuit.  Students will be able to measure noise in a circuit and be able to apply noise reduction techniques as they debug noise sources

Unit Assessment:   Rubric, quiz, equipment and safety tests, entry/exit ticket, observation, visual inspections, peer and self-assessment, written report, gallery walk, public presentation, portfolio check

Unit 3: Digital Electronic Fundamentals

Unit Length (Hours): 60

Unit Description:  Students will explore the fundamentals of digital electronics, the basic principles of digital logic, Boolean and binary systems, combinatorial logic, as well as learn to use test and measurement equipment (logic probes, logic analyzers, protocol testers, signal generators, etc.).

  • Basic logic concepts, digital integrated circuits, combinational logic, sequential logic, typical digital circuits
  • CMOS and TTL logic interfacing, probing digital signals, comparators, optoelectronics emitters and detectors, optocouplers and relays, digital signals and long wires, driving cables
  • Counters, FlipFlops, Shift registers, pseudorandom bit sequences and noise generation
  • Computers, controllers, and data links
  • Intro to programmable logic devices
  • Logic interfacing

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students can demonstrate they can solve digital logic equations and build circuits made from AND, OR, NAND, NOR and XOR gates.  They can construct and test digital circuits.  Students will be able to describe the difference between synchronous and asynchronous circuits.  Students will be able to construct a simple counter, and shift register reason circuits. 

Unit Assessment:   Rubric, quiz, equipment and safety tests, entry/exit ticket, observation, visual inspections, peer and self-assessment, written report, gallery walk, public presentation, portfolio check

Unit 4: Arduino & C++: Coding & Hardware Applications

Unit Length (Hours): 60

Unit Description: CPA C++ Programing Essentials and programing the Arduino Microcontroller:  The Arduino is a microcontroller in which C++ code is implemented on hardware.  Students will learn how to configure hardware and software, develop their own sketches, work with built-in and custom Arduino libraries, and explore the Internet of Things.

  • Basics of programming in the C++ programming language
  • Fundamental concepts and techniques used in object-oriented programming
  • Help prepare students for the CPA–C++ Certified Associate Programmer certification exam.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students can demonstrate they can implement C++ code, load and run it on an Arduino Microcontroller.  They will be able to interface digital and analog I/O, connecting the Arduino with the real world.  Students will be able to integrate sensors, switches, motors and servos to interact with their C++ code. 

Unit Assessment:   Rubric, quiz, observation, visual demonstration of working code on an Arduino hardware system, peer and self-assessment, written report, gallery walk, public presentation, portfolio check

Unit 5: Raspberry Pi & Python: Coding & Hardware Applications

Unit Length (Hours): 60

Unit Description: Python Programing and the Raspberry Pi Microcomputer: Learn an open source software Python language

  • Develop scripting tasks to solve engineering tasks
  • Create incentive programs and fun coding design projects
  • Control hardware using the Python programing language on the Raspberry Pi microcomputer

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students can demonstrate they can implement Python code, load and run it on a Raspberry Pi Microcomputer.  They will be able to interface digital and analog I/O, connecting the Raspberry Pi with the real world.  Students will be able to integrate sensors, switches, motors and servos to interact with their Python code.  Students individually and in teams will develop Python scripts to control and manage electronic and mechanical systems. 

Unit Assessment:  Students will produce Python scripts with documentation comments, and through the submission of code that will demonstrates working examples of hardware interactions. Students will peer edit code and provide feedback  for revision. Assessment will include: Rubric, quiz, observation, visual demonstration of working code on a Python and Raspberry Pi  hardware system, peer and self-assessment, written report, gallery walk, public presentation, portfolio check.

Unit 6: Programming Programmable Logic Controller

Unit Length (Hours): 45

Unit Description:  Students will explore and demonstrate their understanding of and their ability to integrate the elements of process control.  Students are challenged to design and build an automated system.  Given specific economic, physical space, and component parameters students are challenged to design, install, and test an efficient automated systems using a PLC.  

  • PLC programming
  • Ladder logic
  • Control systems include two-step, continuous, proportional, integral, and PID
  • Open and closed loop system design and implementation
  • Implement capstone projects with automated closed-loop control circuits

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students design and functionally simulate several automated closed-loop control systems.  They produce a written report of the different tradeoffs of the systems. Students will build a logic control loop implemented in the PLC that includes an emergency stop, inputs from limit switches, and at least 2 other physical sensors, that will control the movement of at least 1 motor.     

Unit Assessment:  Rubric, quiz, observation, visual demonstration of working PLC hardware system, peer and self-assessment, written report, gallery walk, public presentation, portfolio check.

Unit 7: Programmable Logic Devices (FPGA & SoC)

Unit Length (Hours): 30

Unit Description: Students will explore programmable logic with the Xilinx Pynq Programmable FPGA: PYNQ uses a new open-source framework that enables embedded programmers to exploit the capabilities of Xilinx Zynq All Programmable SoCs (APSoCs) without having to design programmable logic circuits. Instead, the APSoC is programmed using Python and the code is developed and tested directly on the PYNQ-Z1. The programmable logic circuits are imported as hardware libraries and programmed through their APIs in essentially the same way that the software libraries are imported and programmed.

  • Web server hosting the Jupyter Notebooks design environment
  • Learn the IPython kernel and packages
  • Implement code to run on Linux
  • Base hardware library and API for the FPGA
  • Computer vision
  • Industrial control
  • The Internet of things (IoT)
  • Drones
  • Encryption
  • Embedded computing acceleration Real-time processing

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Similar to the programming assignments, students will learn and execute a number of labs designed to teach VHDL and digital logic. Assignments will be implemented on Xilinx programmable logic boards (CPLD and PINQ). Students will turn in completed labs and lab reports. The labs are implemented on the hardware CPLD and PINQ boards, and students will show working results that interface to a hardware test system.

Unit Assessment:  Rubric, quiz, observation, visual demonstration of working programmable logic hardware system, peer and self-assessment, written report, gallery walk, public presentation, portfolio check.

Unit 8: Linux, Cygwin, Command Line Scripting

Unit Length (Hours): 15

Unit Description: Students will explore command line scripting and command line tools, learning both Windows and Linux command line features.

  • Demonstrate how to use the command-line interface including UNC paths and proper syntax.
  • Use batch programming to automate system administrative tasks.
  • Use command line syntax to run python scripts, launch Open CV and other tools
  • Lean process to control IoT devices at the command line level

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students will complete a large compilation of command line labs designed to test their knowledge. Students will work in teams and use a checklist to complete all labs

Unit Assessment:  Rubric, quiz, observation, peer and self-assessment, portfolio check.

Unit 9: Mechanical 3D design and Mechanical Drawing Standards

Unit Length (Hours): 45

Unit Description: Students will gain an understanding of mechanical design and mechanical drawing standards and processes for the mechanical, mechatronic, and manufacturing industries. Introduction to engineering graphics, including the following: orthographic projection, auxiliary views, isometric views, dimensioning, tolerancing, drawing standards, working standards, and solids modeling. Students will also learn principles and connections of design for sustainable engineering and manufacturing. 

  • Demonstrate how hand draw mechanical designs
  • Translate hand drawn design to a 3D CAD program (SOLID Works)
  • Create original 3D designs and modify existing designs
  • Implement design on a 3D Printer.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Given a 3D object, students will work individually to accurately and thoroughly measure the object, sketch from multiple views and enter all measurements into a 3D CAD modeling tool such as SOLIDWORKS to produce a schematic.  Students will use these CAD drawings to replicate their object using a 3D printer.

Students will work individually to design and fabricate  a small 3D logo or nameplate (Extrude Boss/Base) of their choice.  Students will produce flat plane sketches then enter all measurements into a 3D CAD modeling tool such as Solidworks to produce a schematic.  Students will use these CAD drawings to replicate their logo/nameplate using a 3D printer. Students will be encouraged to consider solid design and aesthetic principles when initially planning their project.

Unit Assessment:  sketch, interactive notebook, observation, calculations check, visual inspection, self reflection, gallery walk


Unit 10: Robotic Theory and Application

Unit Length (Hours): 75

Unit Description: Students will explore Industrial Robots and applications

  • Learn how motors work
  • Learn how to debug a motor electrical control system
  • Train on a Fanuc industrial Robot and qualify to earn an industry certification
  • Learn to program and control industrial robots and robot simulators

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students will program a 6-axis servo robotic to be able to pick up an object from point “A” and move it to point “B.”  Students will, through demonstration, show that they can follow safety protocols and properly program and run applications on the robots.

Students will program and control a Fanuc Industrial Robot Trainer.  Students will actively demonstrate that they can follow safety protocols and properly program and run  applications on the robot. Team project will be graded on how efficient the robot motion and movement is to accomplish a series of lab challenges.  Upon successful completion of this module students will have fulfilled the requirements for a Fanuc Robot Operator certificate.

Unit Assessment:  Team project rubric, observation,  memorization competence, peer and self- assessment, instructor graded assignments

Unit 11: Pneumatics Systems

Unit Length (Hours): 27

Unit Description: Students will explore how to operate and install basic pneumatic systems, analyze performance, and design basic pneumatic circuits. Pneumatic power is a foundation of industry used in applications across fields like agriculture, pharmaceuticals, automation, and many more. Students will learn how to specify, select and connect basic pneumatics components, pneumatic hoses and fittings.  Students will be exposed to industrial quality components and will be prepared for what they will encounter on the job. Students will use these components to study major topic areas such as: pneumatic power systems, basic pneumatic circuits, principles of pneumatic pressure and flow, and pneumatic speed control circuits.explore Industrial Robots and applications

  • Introduction to pneumatics circuits
  • Pneumatic power systems
  • Single & double acting cylinder circuits
  • Pneumatic: pressure, volume, flow & speed control
  • Pneumatic speed control
  • Calculating the force output of a cylinder under varying conditions and loads
  • Project based learning including pneumatics

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students design and  functionally simulate several automated open and closed-loop pneumatic control systems.  Students will produce a graphic organizer comparing/contrasting passive, active and feedback control and produce a written report comparing both the open and close-loop system.

Unit Assessment:  Team project rubric, observation,  peer and self- assessment, public presentation, instructor graded assignments

Unit 12: Current Events in Mechatronics, Industry and Engineering

Unit Length (Hours): 6 (15 min increments a few times a week as an Entry/Exit Ticket)

Unit Description: Students will explore industrial automation, engineering and mechatronics topics.  Students will research and produce mechatronics current events presentations. The purpose of this unit is to focus student learning on newsworthy current events, but also on written and oral presentation skills.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students will produce an individual  bi-weekly slide presentation on a current event topic related to current technological and engineering trends following a rubric of required components. Students will have an opportunity to present 2-3 times per semester. Each presentation will be evaluated and critiqued by both student peers and the instructor.

Unit Assessment:  Team project rubric, observation,  peer and self- assessment, public presentation, instructor graded assignments.

Unit 13: Mathematics for Technology

Unit Length (Hours): 15

Unit Description: Students will learn and apply the math needed in the field of Mechatronics.

  • Proper technical notations when calculating rates and capacities of specific computer components and technologies
  • Convert and apply decimal binary and hexadecimal expressions using basic arithmetic functions, exponent relations, or algebraic fundamentals
  • Electronic formulas for series and parallel circuits
  • Pneumatic formulas for pressure and force circuits
  • Formulas for gear ratios, fulcrum, and other physics equations
  • Formulas for wave propagation, signal transmission, and other electromagnetic equation

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students will complete lab worksheets, convert decimal and binary to and from base 10 and base 2. Demonstrate the understanding of the relationship between Base 2 and Base 16.

Students will show proficiency in math formulas, equations, and processes related to electricity and electronic circuits.

Students will show proficiency in math formulas, equations, and processes related to gear ratios, fulcrum, and motors. 

Students will show proficiency in math formulas, equations, and processes related to industrial automation. 

Unit Assessment: Worksheet, rubric, quiz, test, recitation and memorization competence, entry/exit ticket, observation, peer and self-assessment, written report, gallery walk, public presentation, portfolio.

Unit 14: Career Readiness & Professionalism

Unit Length (Hours): 27

Unit Description: Students will develop personal and professional skills in the classroom that will transfer to the workplace.

  • Time management and organization
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Work with a variety of technology
  • Creative thinking and problem solving
  • Job search skills including: resume, job applications and effective interview skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Employability Skills

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes: Students will develop professional skills, complete a online workshop to teach and develop their professional attitudes. Students will demonstrate their ability to be on time, interface professionally, work in teams and also show initiative working independently. 

Unit Assessment: Worksheet, rubric, quiz, test, recitation and memorization competence, entry/exit ticket, observation, peer and self-assessment, written report, gallery walk, public presentation, portfolio.

Course Summative Assessment

Unit assessments, written reports, etc. listed above are aggregated to determine a student's course grade.