Posted by: Carol | May 24, 2012

Catapulting Kids Towards STEM Careers

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the annual Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. For those of you interested in CTE and STEM programs, I highly recommend that you check out the “Maker” community and movement that is rapidly growing throughout the country and seems to be gaining a lot of traction with a range of people from those participating in STEM-oriented industries and hobbyists as well. I’ll be writing up a post about my experience and observations about Maker Faire and the type of work and learning promoted by it, but before I do that, I also wanted to share with you this quick story that comes from our friends at the Sierra College CTE Community Collaborative. What they’re doing would fit in perfectly with the kind of projects featured at Maker Faire.

Sierra College CTE Community Collaborative sponsored a “Tech-Explorer” event for middle school students at Colfax High School, where kids built catapults and learned about the math involved in catapult building and design. The Colfax Record wrote up an article about the event (below) and Jonathan Schwartz, the math and pre-engineering teacher at Colfax High also created a short video to explain the math used to calculate some of the properties of the catapults. You can take a look at both of them below and please feel free to share them with your colleagues and partners. Kudos to Mr. Schwartz at Colfax High and to Sierra College’s CTE STEM Collaborative for their great work!

Excerpt from the Colfax Record’s article:

Teachers and administrators hope a recent visit to Colfax High School will catapult Weimar Hills Elementary School students into technical careers.

On May 15, the eighth-graders were introduced to design, engineering and manufacturing concepts at the Tech-Explorer event in the classroom of Jonathan Schwartz, Colfax High math and pre-engineering teacher. Students used lathes, mills and other power and hand tools to build and assemble catapults.

The event was made possible through a Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Collaborative Grant from Sierra College...read more

And the Catapult Math video from Colfax High’s ColfaxMath Youtube channel:


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