Schools stress engineering, technology education

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Kylie Rutyna, top, and Jahsaanti Davis work on a tile designed as a CNC Manufacturing project at the Havelock Middle School STEM lab.

Drew C. Wilson, Havelock News
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 04:01 PM.

Inside a Havelock Middle School classroom, student Katie Murphy soldered components on a circuit board, Christian Martin calculated the energy from propeller blade angles and Kylie Rutyna used a computer numerical control program to carve out a logo on a tile with a robot-like turning center.

This is no ordinary classroom. It’s the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lab designed to get students interested in technological careers.

Emphasis on what educators call STEM is growing in area schools with the realization that the number of technical jobs is growing.

"Right now with our workforce and our skills gaps in this area, and in the country for that matter, it’s very important for students to see how the science and the math work together with the engineering and the technology to create and make a product, to make a result," said Marlena Bleau, the STEM lab teacher at Havelock Middle. "It’s applying the concepts. They can sit in math class all day, but until they understand how that science works with that math to get a result for something that they are trying to figure out, it’s not relevant until they do that."

Bleau has taught for nine years, seven in a conventional classroom and the last two in the STEM lab, and she sees a difference in the students.

"They are much more engaged. They are much more active in their learning. They are investigating," she said. "They are making mistakes and figuring out here’s my mistake and here’s the solution to my problem. Children learn by actually doing and trying things."

Stations around the class focus on specific disciplines, such as computer-aided design, plastics and polymers, electricity, rocket science, flight simulators and others.



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