Mrs. Pilar Castro-Zena

Phone: 214-496-6469


Degrees and Certifications:

Certified Technology Education 6-12 Certified Generalist 4-8 Certified Bilingual and ESL 4-8 Bachelors of Science Biology Masters in Biochemistry

Mrs. Pilar Castro-Zena

Principles of Technology / Robotics I / Engineering Design and Problem Solving

Welcome to the Coppell STEM program!  I am Pilar Castro-Zena, the engineering teacher at Coppell High School, a 1:1 iPad Apple Distinguished School.  This is my third year at CISD.  I served as a Dual-Language teacher at Wilson Elementary last year, where I started the Spanish version of the ADI-Argument Driven Inquiry science program.   Previous to coming to Coppell, I served in the Irving School district for over 9 years as a Math/Science Bilingual teacher as well as a Science curriculum writer for over 5 years.  During my time in Irving, I helped run summer Robotics and Coding programs for English Language Learners at the 3-5 grades.

I have a particular passion for science education.  I hold a Bachelor's in Biology and a Master's in Biochemistry.  I worked in scientific research for 9 years at UT Southwestern Medical Center in the area of neuronal molecular motor proteins and 4 years at the University of North Texas in the area of muscle molecular motor proteins.  While researching at UNT, I served as a T.A. and subsequently as Adjunct Faculty teaching courses of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biotechnology laboratories.  

The Coppell School of Engineering is a 4-year pre-college program focusing on learning experiences and projects that prepare them for college STEM disciplines.  Our curricular activities expose our learners to design, applications of math and science, electronics, kinematics, and coding.  At the extracurricular level, we offer Robotics, Solar car, the Society of Women in Engineering,  and the Society of Minorities in Engineering.


Click here to visit our Engineering Program.

Follow our Engineering Program on Twitter: @CoppellSTEM

Follow me on Twitter: @PilarCastroZena

Course Syllabus

  • Name of Course:  S.T.E.M. (Engineering Math, Engineering Science, and Engineering Design and problem Solving) 

    Department:  Engineering & Career Technology Education

    School Year:  2017-2018                                          Name of Teacher:  Mrs. Castro-Zena         


    Email address:            Phone number:  214-496-6100

    Classroom: D110 (The Hacker Lab)                       Office: D108

    Tutoring :  Mon 7:45-8:15 AM/Tue 7:45-8:15 AM


    1. Required Materials

    Each student must have a notebook that they will use to document all of their work in class.  All of the student’s work, including warm-up exercises, notes, class work, homework, copied packets, projects, quizzes, and tests, should be ordered by date and kept in a folder.  The pocket folder must be brought to class everyday and the notebook will remain in class.  Being prepared for class means having the required materials at your desk when the bell rings.


    ***Please refer to the Course resources section in Schoology for detailed information on the lab fee and drawing supplies as well as for OSHA certification***


    1. Homework Expectations

    Homework assignments will be given periodically.  These assignments are to be completed on the day they are assigned and in the classroom.  Plenty of time will be given in class to complete these if learner focuses on completing them.  Work not completed in the assigned class time will need to be completed on the learner’s own time.  Late work will not be given full credit until it is completed and submitted.  It is the responsibility of an absent student to get any missed assignment(s) from another student or Mrs. Castro-Zena either before or after class.  Missed work must be made up within the number of days allowed under Coppell District policy.  Messy or incomplete work will not receive credit.  I will return it to the learner with comments to guide successful completion.  Pride and the appropriate amount of time should be given to each assignment.  It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that his/her work is presentable and completed as instructed.  All assignments will be posted in Schoology and will be turned-in Sschoology.


    III.   Grading Policy

    Grades will be based on class work, projects, lab reflection, and tests. 

    1. Daily classroom instruction will consist of:
    • Reviewing concepts from the previous day’s lesson
    • Presenting new content or extending topics from a previous lesson
    • Group work - Students will be required to work in pairs or teams of no more than three students to ensure maximum engagement.
    • Individual/whole group practice and presentations


    1. Behavior Expectations (Refer to the following matrix.)



    1. Big Ideas covered in these three courses will include:

    Engineering Math

    Engineering Science

    Engineering Design and Problem Solving

    ●      Engineering Design Project

    ●      Technical Communication

    ●      Professionalism

    ●      Engineering History

    ●      Lab Time

    ●      Mechanics

    ●      Material Science

    ●      Energy

    ●      Systems

    ●      Problem Solving

    ●      Lab Time

    ●      Engineering Design Project

    ●      Technical Communication

    ●      Professionalism

    ●      Engineering History

    ●      Lab Time


    VII.   Course Projects (This is a guide, and may not be followed in this exact sequence!)

    Engineering Math

    Engineering Science

    Engineering Design and Problem Solving

    ● Mini System Project

    ● Beam Tester & Sensor DAQ Intro

    ● Sensor DAQ VI Analysis

    ● Tetrix Rover Challenge

    ● ALS-Photovore

    ● Dead Reckoning Challenge

    ● Sketching

    ○      Sketching Unit

    ●    Processing & swift intro

    ○      Processing & Swift Units

    ●    SolidWorks basics

    ○      SolidWorks Basics Unit

    ● Design Process basics

    ○      Heat Transfer Project - OATG2

    ○      Balsa wood Bridge Project -

    ●   Electronics Intro

    ○      Arduino Unit

    ○      Electronics Unit

    ● Engineering Reporting Intro

    ○      Heat Transfer/OME

    ● Apply vector math, Ohms law, & f=ma

    ○      Balsa wood Bridge Unit

    ● Engineering drawing standards

    ○      Sketching Unit?

    ● Toy Lab 1 (Design Process)

    ○        “Wooden” pull toy (Model Making) (Sketching)

    ○        Mini report

    ●Toy Lab 2

    ○          Arduino based toy (Arduino Basics)

    ○          Report (Engineering Report)

    ● SolidWorks Advanced - OATG1

    ○             Center of Gravity drawing/quiz (TBD)

    ●Swift Learn to Code 3 (Swift Basics)

    ○             Final project

    ●Honors: App writing with Swift

    ○             RPS and Meme Maker Apps

    ●MakerBot 5 Badge (3D Printing)

    ●myDAQ components (electronics) (Mechatronics)

    ○             Npoints website project.  Photophone - OATG2

    VII.    Other important items specific to this course:

    I am committed to making sure that all my students find success in S.T.E.M. in a fun hands-on way throughout high school.  There must be a commitment from both student and parent to completing all of the assignments and seeking help immediately when needed.  When your child struggles this year, be willing to talk with me and work with me to find the reason for the difficulty.  The sooner the problems can be identified, the greater the likelihood that we can work together to assure success in this course.


Tutoring Schedule

    • Monday and Tuesday 7:45-8:45 AM

    • Thursday 4:00 pM

    • Or by appointment