Industrial Technology classes
Exploring Technology (6th grade)
This is a 9-week class in which students sample topics that are covered in depth in my other three classes, including 3D modeling, engineering design projects, and woodworking. There is heavy emphasis on measurement skills and safety. Students must pass a workshop safety test and exhibit responsible behavior in order to earn the privilege of working in the woodshop.
Inventions and Innovations (7th grade)
Students learn about the Engineering Design Process, design thinking and user-centered design theory. They will learn to read and create technical drawings and plans, work with graphic design and 3D modeling software. We use both new and old technology to design and build a variety of projects.
Automation and Robotics (8th grade, fall semester)
Students learn about the societal and technology context for automation and robotics, career paths, mechanical systems and programming fundamentals. Classes use the engineering design process to build mechanical and robotic projects using VEX robotics parts.
Aeronautics and Engineering (8th grade, spring semester)
Students use the engineering design process to design and build projects such as rockets, planes, hydraulic systems, maglev vehicles and more. We explore careers in engineering and technology fields and workplace readiness skills.
Parents occasionally ask how they can support my classroom.
We do a LOT of projects, which means I go through a LOT of materials in the course of the school year. I have a budget for materials and maintenance of all the shop tools, 3D printers and robotics, but as you might imagine, I usually run out of budget around February-March. I would really like to update some of the power tools in the shop, but reserving enough of my budget to buy a new scroll saw or sanders means trimming materials somewhere else.
If you would like to help by donating consumable supplies or tools, I have created an Amazon classroom wishlist, which I update frequently. You can order and have items sent to my classroom/shop.
In addition to these elective classes, I also coach the JMS competitive robotics teams. Teams form in August/September and compete in tournaments from November to January. Like athletic teams, participation is a big commitment of time and energy. Students must apply for the team, attend all team meetings and tournaments. Team numbers are limited based on FIRST Robotics rules, so the application and "tryout" process is important. Students must exhibit good teamwork skills, a cooperative and collaborative spirit, persistence, and a strong motivation for self-directed learning. Notice that I don't say they need to be skilled in robotics to join.
We have teams that compete on two levels:
FIRST LEGO League (ages 9 - 14)
FLL uses LEGO Kindstorms EV3 robotics and has a heavy emphasis on developing soft skills such as teamwork, project/time management, research skills, public speaking and group communication. Students build and program autonomous robots to navigate a game field and perform tasks. They also research a real-world problem related to the theme for the season and propose a well thought out and innovative solution. At the tournament, they compete with other teams in the robot game, and also go before a panel of judges to present their research project solution, their robot design and strategy, and talk about their teamwork.
FIRST Tech Challenge (ages 13 - 18)
FTC has greater emphasis on technical skills and the engineering design process. Students use industrial-style parts to build a robot that is both autonomous and remote controlled. They generate an engineering design notebook showing all their work and design process, which they then present to judges. Students must already have good teamwork skills for this competition because the build process is much more intense and technically demanding.