Exploring tech program a hit
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This year has found me with a great opportunity, and it’s been both challenging and rewarding for me to teach these two new sections. With the eighth grade “exploring technologies”, I’ve tried to give them some basic skills that will help them around the house, from reading a ruler to sweating a copper pipe joint; from changing out a spare tire, and checking the oil, to washing and waxing a car.
I’ve also given them some exposure to welding. On the modern technologies end of it, I’ve ran a few lessons that allow them to program their own video game, and another using a STEM based application where they get to design, test and build a mousetrap powered car in a virtual world before building the physical model and drag racing it against their classmates creations in the gym.
Many of my welding students have been welding at home for years before attending my class, and I commend their families for getting their children out of the house and into the garage. I’ve supplemented my lessons with some basics like electrode choice, and weld symbol reading. Of course their favorite part is “burning metal” in the shop. As their skill sets evolve, many have already performed repair services for local community members. In the future we look forward to providing the community a place to find fire rings, small wood stoves, and other small projects that our students create.
Students have given me feedback along the way, and I’ve found that while some want more shop time, some are asking for more classroom time. The way I see it, if I have both complaints, I must be doing something right. I’d like to thank Kathy McDonough, the school board, the staff, administration, and parents of Manistique Area Schools for this opportunity to bring this kind of education to these kids.
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Bill Wagner heads the exploratory technology program at Manistique Middle and High School.