July was a time for learning as three SHS Science teachers spent two weeks at Worcester Polytechnic Institute preparing for the new Engineering Design Class to be offered all 9th graders at SHS this year. Physics Teacher Larry Anderson, Courtney Aboltin and Steve Watson, Gr 7-12 Science Curriculum Coordinator, lived in the dorms at WPI and completed rigorous coursework, training as Project Lead the Way teachers.
Steve Watson reflected on the two weeks, commenting that he was excited and awed by the experience of being a student himself – learning high level Engineering Design, as well as learning how to teach Engineering Design!
SHS Freshmen will be learning how to work in teams on a virtual product design challenge, aided by the Autodesk® Inventor® software. Introduction to Engineering Design is the bridge between the Engineering classes all 7th & 8th grade students took at the STEM Academy and the Engineering Pathway that is being developed at SHS.
STEM Academy Engineering teachers Ginger Lavalle and Peter Trimble were also trained by Project Lead the Way at WPI to prepare them for their courses at Sandwich STEM Academy. Sandwich 7th graders learn about CAD-CAM in a course called Design and Modeling and the 8th grade course is called Automation and Robotics.
By far, the most consistent feedback from parents and STEM students during the 2014-2015 school year was their collective desire to continue with Project Lead the Way pathways when they arrived at Sandwich High School. Student after student commented on the quality of the teaching, the focus on discovery, and the dynamic atmosphere created in the Engineering classrooms. Sandwich High School received solid advice and great training from PLTW. In conversations with other high schools who have developed multiple PTLW pathways such as Biomedical, Aeronautics, and Architecture, students have flourished. PTLW is considered to be one of the most successful approaches to be certain that guided inquiry, higher level thinking and creativity are the primary drivers in teaching and learning.
The Sandwich Public Schools is so proud and appreciative of our dedicated teachers who are enthusiastically taking on new challenges on behalf of students. What amazing opportunities for our kids!
Read about Project Lead The Way’s part in the planning and launch of the STEM Academy: https://sandwichlearnstogether.org/2014/10/13/story-of-the-creation-of-the-stem-academy-part-three/
Read about the Engineering Pathway being developed for Grades 7-12 students at The Sandwich STEM Academy and Sandwich High School: https://sandwichlearnstogether.org/2015/05/03/engineering-classes-in-sandwich-from-grade-7-12/