MSA Product Design


Product Design is accepting new students!

MSA Product Design is open to new students who would like to work with computer design software and a range of tools from woodworking, metal working, textiles, 3D printers and laser cutters to develop projects of interest.

All students will  learn the basics of each skill set and the progress to the design of simple to complex products. In doing so, students create drawings, models and prototypes of their imagined products and utilize the program’s wealth of electronics and its fully equipped, modern workshop to bring their concepts to completion.

Student designers are encouraged to experiment, work through trial and error, and utilize creative solutions as they critique each other’s work to come up with their best project designs. They also learn the value and importance of collaboration in the design process and will team up to complete larger projects. Key to successfully developing projects are charting time lines and work flow parameters, along with detailed blue prints, plans and design specifications.

The Product Design program was created by NHS Physics Teacher Glenn Corey to offer courses in all aspects of 21st century design and was developed with Mr. Corey’s unique perspective as a past entrepreneur, research scientist, executive, programmer, toy designer and interface designer.

Today Teacher Ben Knudson carries that vision forward, working closely with students to inspire and empower the confidence needed to develop and create from a base of knowledge. Mr. Knudson works closely with students to encourage projects that meld art and function.


Students utilize “additive design” techniques as they develop projects from concept to finished product. Contributing positive ideas and solutions as students collaborate on projects is a crucial aspect of the MSA Product Design learning process. Students are encouraged to build on solutions and improvements in their design process rather than focusing how a design might fail.

With the chance to learn cutting-edge skills and to utilize both state of the art equipment and tried and true, students are empowered to confidently face the dynamic technological developments of the 21st century. These skills are increasingly acknowledged as essential to work creatively and productively in today’s economy.

Product Design is an exploding career area. These high school classes will enable students to move seamlessly into parallel college majors or directly into the workforce following high school graduation. Students will build these skills in MSA Product Design by going through its four-year curriculum progression.



Introduction to Design Thinking and Tools
UC-g approved elective

Students are introduced to design thinking, collaboration, computer aided design, traditional construction (woodshop), modern construction (3D printer, laser cutter, CNC milling), electronics, software and presentation.
MSA companion class: Foundation Art or Digital Arts 1


Project Planning

UC-g approved elective

Working in teams, students produce three products of varying complexity and duration, progressing through projects that take three weeks, 6 weeks and 6 months. Project teams incorporate varying skill sets and interests to facilitate a successful project whereby needed resources can be found within the peer group.

By their second year, students have generally decided on an area of focus and are able to utilize the skills learned in their first year. Gantt charts are used to plan and deliver on milestones based on specific tasks for each project. Students identify areas where they must bolster their skills i.e. programming, tools, etc.

MSA companion class: Visual Arts of your choice


Year-long customer-based project

Students participate in a year-long project in conjunction with a specific need for a local “customer” (most likely an issue or need identified on campus or in the community). For example, perhaps there a specialized prop is needed for an MSA Theatre production.  Students utilize the tools in the design center and are mentored by faculty.



Year-long capstone project

Students spend the entire school year planning, prototyping and testing a complete product that they pitch to industry representatives. Full product development would potentially take a product to market. Students are mentored by faculty or an industry professional in their field of interest.



Students design, construct and connect individual segments of a Rube Goldberg machine.


Student Reid Nikolaieff shows off his ramp design. “I built this little spine/barrier as a final project. This is a video of Tyler and me skating it for the first time,” he says of the video above.


In 2015, Product Design founder Glenn Corey was honored by two nationally renowned organizations: he selected as an Outstanding Educator by the California League of High Schools and was one of seven teachers nationwide selected to be Allen Distinguished Educators by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Corey was selected as an Allen Distinguished Educator due to his work providing transformational learning opportunities for students while promoting rigorous academics, real-world learning experiences and fostering community engagement.

Corey will work with other Allen Distinguished Educators to spread innovative teaching practices to other schools and districts. Learn more about Allen Distinguished Educators.