Cargill grant lets CL students explore engineering


Clear Lake sixth graders can consider themselves cutting edge scientists.

Thanks to a $21,000 grant from Cargill, Incorporated the students are exploring robotics.

“It’s been a real change from the traditional science class,” said teacher Megan Rasmussen.  “We started with a presentation on robotics, looking at gears and how things move, and next week they will be designing a robotic car.”{jcomments on}Cargill’s Gateway to 

Technology Grant provided computers, software and training for Rasmussen to lead the multi-week unit.

{jcomments off}“It’s new for me, and them-- that’s something that has been fun for all of us to explore,” said Rasmussen.  “Another interesting thing has been that students who might struggle in some areas, can do very well at this.  It’s been interesting to see how some think and figure out how something is going to work.”

Typically Rasmussen said she gives the students, who work in teams, a task and they have to figure out how to complete it using skills associated with mechanical, electrical and programming engineering.  

Principles are rooted in math and science, but logic must prevail.

“There are no instructions.  It’s a challenge to figure out how to make it happen,” said the teacher.

Next year the engineering program will be expanded to the high school, thanks to another Cargill, Inc. grant.

Clear Lake High School is the recipient of a $35,000 grant from Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum. 

“I think everyone is aware of the critical need for engineers in our country.  This will give our students an excellent opportunity to not only acquire skills needed for the engineering field, but also those STEM skills that apply well beyond engineering,” stated Tracy Thomsen, curriculum director for the Clear Lake Schools.

Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, CLHS will offer PLTW’s Pathway To Engineering (PTE) curriculum, where students immerse themselves in the concepts of engineering, learn and apply the design process, and build strong teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.  The grant will support the implementation of the PLTW engineering curriculum, including the purchase of materials and equipment that will be used in the hands-on, project-based classes that are a distinguishing characteristic of PLTW’s curriculum.  

Thomsen noted the PLTW grant - Read More Via e-Edition

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