Dr. Tom Siller, dean of Engineering from Colorado State University, glanced around the classroom full of students. “I have talked to most of you about your projects and I am really impressed with everything,” he says.
The Berthoud High School students were impressed as well, being critiqued so positively by a college professor. “I’ve been studying engineering since I was 13 and I don’t remember doing this caliber of work in high school,” says Siller. Siller, Dr. Michael DiMiranda, professor of Engineering Education, and graduate fellow Dr. Paul Hernandez, an educational psychologist, all visited Scott Kindt’s General Physics and AP Physics classes on Jan. 27 as part of their CSU GK-12 collaborative project with BHS (and Thompson Valley High School) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classes.
The GK-12 project is a college/K-12 program that provides multi-disciplinary training across the ages in science, technology, engineering and math. At CSU, the primary focus is on biomedical sciences through three components: research, education and partnerships.
Along with their projects, students in groups of five to 10 each created posters to communicate their work to other scientists, engineers and mathematicians. After receiving some suggestions from their CSU visitors, the students will complete their 4-foot x 3-foot posters. Kindt says these projects, along with the science poster, will be on display at the National Science Foundation GK-12 conference in Washington, DC, in March.
Kindt’s AP Physics and General Physics classes have been involved in the CSU GK-12 engineering project for the past two months. “This is an integrated project that also involves the collaboration of Physics, Algebra II, and Principles of Engineering classes at BHS,” he says – a total of about 200 students. “The physics students designed and built stereo amplifiers and speakers. They worked with Rob Sommerfeld's Principles of Engineering students, who experimented with various materials to design and build the boxes to hold all the electronics.” Then, Algebra II students tested and measured the electronic equipment using algebraic principles.
Kindt is in the third year of the CSU-Thompson collaboration. Trevor Vonsegdern, a sophomore who knows what he wants in his future says, “I definitely want to be an engineer – it’s my dream.” “This taught us a lot about circuitry.” Each group had a lot of flexibility in how they approached their problems and solutions. One student was sure she was going into engineering, but wasn’t sure if her focus would be chemical, electrical or another area.
Colorado Integration Project kicks off
Jan. 26 kicked off the first of a two-day training session of the Colorado Legacy Integration Project at TSD. More than 100 teachers attended, primarily from TSD but also from Eagle County Schools, Centennial BOCES and Denver Public Schools. Members from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation attended as well as curriculum leaders from the Colorado Department of Education. It was a full day of training and dialogue. On the second day, participants introduced a Module Center, which facilitates lesson planning, including helping teachers to find reading resources at student reading levels by content area. Superintendent Ron Cabrera said he received compliments from the foundation about how well prepared district staff had been to support the training.
TVHS students earn state art awards
Several TVHS students received recognition at the recent Scholastic Colorado Visual Arts Awards, which drew some 4,000 pieces of art submitted by students from around the state. Faith Ford received the Gold Key Portfolio award. For other names and awards, see http://thompson.k12.co.us/Bulletin_board/ScholasticsArtAwards_TVHS2012.pdf.