On the Monday after graduation, many teachers and students were ready for summer vacation, but thirty students and three teachers had a better idea: Let’s teach 5th and 6th graders how to make things with tools and machines. The high school technology department wrote and received a grant from SME and GM to be able to make this a free learning experience for kids. The thirty slots for students filled quickly and everyone had a great time.
The students were able to make many different projects using many different tools and machines. Participants designed their own shirts with software and then used a vinyl cutter to manufacture the design to be pressed onto t-shirts. Students also learned how to solder electronics and use laser cutters and 3d printers to design and manufacture a digital dice game. They also learned how to operate a CNC machine, hand tools, and power tools to manufacture a candy dispenser. Students then did product testing by filling the dispenser with Skittles, and then made sure they worked properly.
Special thanks also to John Ryan and Mikaelie Lanzafame from Marquardt switches for the incredible tour of the manufacturing process at Marquardt Switches right here in Caz. All 30 students dressed up in special lab coats and shoe straps to dissipate static electricity before they were treated to a complete tour of the facility. This was a highlight for the teachers as well as the students.
We will be applying for the grant again next year, and hope to continue this camp, or something like it for next year as well. Another reason for the great success of the camp was due to the eleven Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) students who were there to help the younger kids throughout the week. These students all had just finished the high school CIM course where they learned how to use all the tools and manufacturing techniques used to build all the projects for the camp. The kids even designed their own t-shirts and then produced them with a vinyl cutter and heat press and wore them on the last the day.
Submitted by Mr. Chris Hurd, PLTW Coordinator