Rochester Schools enhances STEM education

August 31, 2018

High school students in the Rochester Community School District will have expanded opportunities in technology, computer programming and craftsman skills with the help of a donation by the Rochester Community Schools Foundation.

The Foundation on Thursday, August 30, announced it would award more than $9,000 to the district to purchase a computer numerical control machine for STEM (science, technology, engineering  and mathematics) education. The device is to be used by students throughout the district to learn engineering, architecture, woodworking, computer-aided design and computer programming.

"Our high-school engineering, architecture, and woodworking classes are gaining technical experience and programming skills, using the real-life applications of the CNC machine and its related software," said Tim Lewis, Rochester High School design and technology teacher. "STEM education and related tools like this help create a hybrid, cross-curricular approach to learning. Students are excited to watch their work come to life."

Students begin by creating a computer design that gets converted to coordinates. The cutting spindle on the CNC machine moves to various positions, shapes and depths, as directed by the coding instructions. These processes combine to create two- and three-dimensional patterns out of wood, metal or plastic. The system has practical applications in manufacturing, parts fabrication, milling, engineering, engraving and more.

"It's exciting to see our students and educators directly engaging in problem-based learning. They are creating, building, collaborating and discovering together," said Carrie Lawler, assistant superintendent of secondary education, equity and inclusion. "These important skills are valuable both personally and professionally."

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