Because of the emphasis on students' math and science scores today, the Cicero-North Syracuse Career Center and two teams of Lockheed Martin engineers worked together to provide some hands-on labs.
This gave students opportunities to apply the math, science and technology they are learning in the classroom to "real" engineering problems. A total of 550 students in 26 classes met with the engineers for two days to learn about the many facets of the engineering field and question the engineers about the future of engineering in an uncertain economy.
Spending time with the C-NS students from Lockheed were C-NS alumni Steve Austin, Jeff Marier, Lois Baldassari-Mather and Ken Jackson, a retired engineer, taught the lab.
Students enrolled in Regents living environment, living environment RH, earth science, computer systems 2, geometry 10 honors, algebra 2/trig, Regents physics, and community chemistry classes were divided into groups of five to problem-solve how to design a vehicle using household items that would travel the farthest distance.
The tiebreaker was the team that used the lowest cost of materials. They used such things as large pieces of cardboard, rulers, masking tape, ping pong balls, balloons, popsicle sticks, small plastic plates, etc., that they purchased from a "store." Each was given $25 to spend and could only make three trips to the store. They also were unable to return any unused items for a refund.
Students performed the following exercises in four parts and did the following:
Assign one student to collect their materials; Work as a team to design transport mode; Debrief to problem solve how they could improve on their designs another time.
This engineering project gave students an opportunity to apply their math, science and technology skills, but even more importantly they learned basic thinking skills, transference of knowledge, problem solving and teamwork skills.
Students learned the importance of listening carefully and following directions while completing a task according to specs in an established timeline. The debriefing session encouraged them to rethink and trouble shoot ideas to improve their results.
This is just one of the many career exploration programs coordinated through the C-NS Career Center.
For more information about these and other career education programs, contact Ellie Peavey, career education teacher/coordinator, during school hours at 218-4193.