Makerspaces: Simple and Cost Effective Projects to Build Your Own STEM Program

Every new classroom project must satisfy available resources within three dimensions: 1) time, 2) money and 3) physical space. The 2016 New Media Consortium Horizon Report for K-12 Education anticipates that makerspaces will be highly adopted in schools across the country within the next year. Maker education and makerspaces are the hot topic in STEM education right now.

Over the last year I have worked with many teachers in a professional development environment who are simultaneously enthusiastic about the idea of a makerspace, and frustrated by the limitations of space in their schedule, budget and classroom layout. We all want a makerspace, but how do we make that happen within these constraints?
Ready for the Good News?
You do not need wait for additional funding or a district-wide initiative to build your own classroom makerspace. Teachers can embrace makerspaces with any level of experience and with any available resources.

Top Earning Major's Dominated by STEM Degrees

Glassdoor study released. The job search engine analyzed more than 500,000 resumes and self-reported salaries to determine which majors pay the most during the first five years after graduation. Eight of the 10 most-bankable majors are tied to engineering or technology, such as computer science, electrical engineering and information technology. Nearly half of the majors listed are in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, though business-related majors, such as accounting and marketing, crack the top half of the 50 majors listed.

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/50-highest-paying-college-majors/


YOUR FUTURE is MADE in MANUFACTURING, An Introduction to Manufacturing, Teachers Guide, recommended for grades 6-12

Dear Teacher,

I am constantly in awe of what you do every day. You inform, you influence, you interact, and most importantly, you inspire young people preparing for the exciting world of learning and work.

Over the next decade, 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled due to the skills gap. With your help, we can mitigate this gap and show students the reality of modern manufacturing. Many people of all ages are amazed to learn how much we manufacture in the United States and how diverse the careers are in our dynamic industry. Today’s manufacturing is about new innovation, making an impact, and a chance to design and build the future .Whether they are interested in design, engineering, or even the business side of the industry, there is a place for everyone in manufacturing. Not only does our industry offer a wide variety of demanding and fulfilling roles, it also offers high pay and opportunity for career advancement.


Engaging Students with Hands-On Learning

About five years ago, I noticed it was getting more and more difficult for my students to retain the information presented in my CNC Machining Program. You see, at that time, I was making widgets in class that demonstrated the basic processes performed on CNC machines. These widgets, though, had no meaning to my students because they weren’t part of anything real or usable.

The result? Students were disinterested.
One day, while shopping for a remote control (RC) car, it occurred to me these cars are like an actual vehicle, with four-wheel, independent suspension and transmissions with front and rear differentials. As a CNC manufacturing engineer, before I entered teaching, I machined driveline components for agricultural and military applications. So, as a teacher, I knew the driveline components on the remote-controlled cars were machined and closely represented a real-life driveline. A closer examination of the RC car revealed to me I could use the resources in my CNC lab to design, re-engineer, set up, program and run almost the entire RC car as a class project.
Hands-On Learning

NATEF Introduces Guide for New Automotive Instructors

The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) has developed an online guide targeted toward automotive technicians who are interested in transitioning to an instructor role. The guide covers such teaching topics as lesson planning, lesson delivery, student assessment and useful resources for new instructors. The NATEF New Instructor Guide, which is available free to all instructors, was developed through a grant from Ingersoll Rand.

NATEF said it created this guide to help new automotive instructors be more successful in making the transition from doing to teaching. It also provides resources for instructors already in the field.


Mastercam University Prepares Machine Shop Teacher to Stay Ahead of Computer-Savvy Students

When Gene Hickey began teaching the art of machining in 1977, computer-aided manufacturing wasn’t a part of the curriculum. The Atari 2600 video gaming system was introduced that same year and, at $265 was a luxury for most households.  When Hickey decided to return to the classroom in 2006 – after a 15-year hiatus – he entered an environment where his students were computer-literate, having grown up using gaming systems that had gone mainstream with graphics that rivaled those in animated films.

Mastercam University

Preparing Students for a Project-Based World

About one-third of American workers are now engaged in some kind of freelance, or project-based, work. Students are graduating into a working world that encourages short term projects or “gigs” over full time employment. And, for those who do work in full time jobs, they often organize their work into projects, work collaboratively in teams and solve unique and pressing problems. In this year long campaign titled “It’s a Project-Based World,” Getting Smart is exploring the economic realities of a project-based world as part of the equity movement to ensure all students are prepared for college, career and citizenship.


Students are Skipping Science and Math Because They Don't Understand Vast Career Opportunities

It’s the missed opportunity of a generation: demand for scientists and engineers has never been stronger, but many young people in the U.S. are avoiding science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education because they don’t understand the opportunities, according to a recent survey by Emerson. - See more at: http://www.emerson.com/en-us/careers/Pages/STEM-survey-results.aspx?cm

The survey* revealed that 42 percent of respondents would have considered a career in STEM fields had they better understood a potential career path, and one-third of respondents didn’t pursue a STEM career because it seemed too hard.


Tech Firms Call on Lawmakers to Invest in STEM Education

Tech companies called for the federal government to invest in more STEM Education. An issue the industry hopes to influence in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Representatives of Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon said they face difficulties finding qualified staff, a handicap they believe other US companies face and that threatens the strength of American industry. The issue is so widespread that it affects fields outside of technology, including pharmaceuticals and health care, they said.

"This is no longer a Microsoft, Facebook or Amazon issue," Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal officer said at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's panel in Philadelphia. "Companies are only as good as the people we hire."

"Power of STEM Education" Grants Provided by TI and Texas Instruments Foundation

TI and the Texas Instruments Foundation have committed "Power of STEM Education" (POSE) grants to a variety of nonprofit partners and educators in targeted communities across the U.S. where the company has a major design or manufacturing presence, including California, Maine and Texas. Giving is focused on collaborative strategies to improve student success and teaching effectiveness in STEM education.  Special emphasis is given to programs that reach female and minority students who are underrepresented in science and engineering careers today.

"Our focus is on collaborative strategies to improve teaching effectiveness and student success in STEM education," said Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation and TI director of corporate philanthropy.  "We seek out effective partners who share our goals, make strategic investments and develop long-term relationships with educators and their organizations to support proven, successful programs that can be scaled and replicated. Working together, we believe all students can move forward and experience greater success in STEM."

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