Some Galena High School students are printing in 3D and learning how to use the latest technology to solve problems. We paid a visit to the Galena STEM Academy to see what they’re working on.
Tuesday’s lesson in the Introduction to Engineering and Design class was about the inner workings of a sprinkler head.
Sophomore Alexandra Jensen explained the reverse engineering project. "We're taking a sprinkler head, then we get to take it apart and we'll build it again on the computer. So that's pretty cool," she said. The students also use computers to design original projects.
Students say they’re excited about the new science, technology, engineering and math curriculum at Galena's STEM Academy. Freshman John Alber is zoned for Incline High School, but picked Galena instead. "I'm planning to become a chemical engineer in the future, so I thought the STEM program would really help me," he said.
Engineering and Design teacher Tom Larsen says the students often work in teams as they learn to create and implement ideas. "They get to use some great technology with our 3D printer and our 3D scanner," Larsen said. The students used the 3D printer-- which was paid for with grant money-- to create a plastic wrench and a smart phone case; both came out of the printer fully functional.
Some say the real lesson is what the kids can do with the knowledge they gain from exploring science and technology. "What I really want to go into is aerospace engineering,” said Alexandra Jensenn. “And I feel like this is a great class to prepare me for that."
So, what begins with a sprinkler head, could lead to almost anything. "Hopefully they're going to be future problem solvers in whatever career track they might take," said Larsen. Then he asked the students to be sure to put all the sprinkler heads back together before they left for their next class.