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Courtesy photo. Students in Exploring Technology class at Beach Middle School.

By Lisa Carolin

Creating a portfolio of design briefs is among the tasks that students taking the class Exploring Technology are completing. It’s a class for eighth-grade students offered at Beach Middle School that stresses engineering through technical drawings, robotics and programming.

“By definition, technology is the application of tools, materials, processes and systems used by humans to solve problems and provide benefit to humankind,” said teacher Brian Boos, who along with Duane Moss and Scott Reidel teach the technology classes at Beach and at Chelsea High School. “Our mission as technology educators is to open this world of technology to our students and to see past just computers, software, etc. Technology is a way of thinking, a systematic way of using resources to solve problems.”

Students learn about structures by performing hands-on engineering problems.

Courtesy photo.

“The tech classes allow students to create and see their creations come to fruition,” said Beach Principal Nick Angel. “There is a blend of direct instruction, ‘figuring it out’, hands-on creation and design. These are important concepts and processes for students to be exposed to at the middle level.”

“The class provides opportunities for students to connect technology to the human-built world,” said Boos, who says that the labs included in the class let students experience concepts delivered via technical drawings.

He says the robotics instruction gives students a chance to use electronic sensors to create a robot that can sense its environment, using sensors similar to those found in self-driving automobiles.

The hands-on engineering problems are about structures and the students will apply what they learn in the labs to design and construct a truss style bridge.

Last year, the school received an Ultimaker 3D printer and scanner. The last three weeks of the class are dedicated to Computer-Aided Design (CAD) when students design and 3D print an object of their own.

“Having the 3D printer in our classroom allows our students to  experience new technology used in industry,” said Boos. “Using computer software, students can design a prototype product then print it into a tangible object. The goals of the class are to provide opportunities for students to experience how technology and engineering are a part of our everyday lives.”

Courtesy photo. Students in the Exploring Technology class at Beach Middle School.

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