Vermont Tech K-12 Technology Projects

For many years, Vermont Technical College has worked with Washington Village School and Orange Center School to provide 7th and 8th grade students with a week of technology oriented education. In 2004 we welcomed the 6th graders from Orange Center.

Through a series of design/build projects students have been exposed to technologies ranging from computer controlled machine tools to electric vehicles and design software. They have come up with their own ideas and solutions and then drilled, programmed, modeled, wired, soldered, cut and riveted as necessary.

Paul H. Johnson

Vermont Technical College

pjohnson@vtc.edu

Administration

Warning to Parents and Students

 

Spring ’06 - Orange Center School Projects

Rockets

·        By Steve Belitsos and Justine Macris from the Automotive Technology Department.

·        Automotive Technology Academic Program Information

·        Each student will build and launch a water bottle rocket and an Estes model rocket.

Alternative Energy

·        By Louise Maynard and Paul Johnson from the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department with assistance from Mary Waldo and Bob Royce.

·        Mechanical Engineering Technology Academic Program Information

·        Department Page (with examples of student work)

·        Design, model and test an alternative energy system. Use Lego components (beams, gears, shafts, motors/generators, capacitors, solar panels, wires, etc.) and other simple materials to catch wind, water or solar energy, hold it, change it and let it go in a useful way. Students will take data and perform calculations relating to power and efficiency.

Spring ’05 – Washington Village School Projects and Orange Center School Projects

Transportation

·        By Steve Belitsos and Andrew Roy from the Automotive Technology Department with material from Betsy Dorries.

·        Automotive Technology Academic Program Information

·        Design and build electric vehicles

Architecture and Village Growth

·        By Paul Johnson, Louise Maynard, and Mary Waldo from the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department

·        Academic Program Information

·        Department Page (with examples of student work)

·        Simulate the pressures that govern village growth, using a role-playing game, consensus decisions, and Excell

·        Design and model structures and gardens using Sketch-up

Spring '04 – Orange Center School Projects and Washington Village School Projects

Transportation

·        By Steve Belitsos from the Automotive Technology Department with material from Betsy Dorries. Steve was assisted by his son Peter Belitsos, a student in the Architectural and Building Engineering Technology Program

·        Automotive Technology Academic Program Information

·        Architectural and Building Engineering Technology Academic Program Information

·        Design and build magnetic levitation vehicles

Lean Manufacturing

·        By Paul Johnson, Mary Waldo and Louise Maynard from the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department

·        Design small structures (like children’s furniture), using Lego parts, Excel and Autodesk Inventor

·        Manufacture from the design, using 2x4 lumber, PVC pipe, drill, chop saw, jigs and fixtures

Spring '03

Transportation

·        By Betsy Hoffman Dorries

·        Design and build solar powered vehicles

Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)

·        By Paul Johnson and Mary Waldo

·        Design sheet metal parts using Autodesk Inventor for 3D modeling and flat pattern layout

·        Fabricate those parts in the VTC machine shop, using shear, snips, punch, break and rivet gun

Spring '02

Transportation

·        By Betsy Hoffman

·        Design and build magnetic levitation vehicles

Village, Home and Garden Design

·        By Paul Johnson and Mary Waldo

·        Design and model a village, using consensus decisions, Sketch-up software and cereal boxes

Spring '01

CAD/CAM

·        Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing

·        By Paul Johnson and Emily Crofter

·        Design a yo-yo and a popsicle stick structure, using Mechanical Desktop and AutoCAD

·        Program a CNC Lathe and machine the yo-yos, using SpectraCam

Robotics

·        By John Odum and Katie Pennington

·        Build and Program robotic animals, using Lego Mindstorms

Spring '00

Web Authoring

·        By Paul Johnson and Katie Pennington with material from Andre St Denis

·        Produce a web page, using Netscape Composer, Flash Animation, Digital Camera, Scanner and Smartboard

Transportation

·        By Dan Clark with material from Betsy Hoffman

·        Design and build magnetic levitation vehicles

Spring '99

Village/Home Design

·        By Paul Johnson, Mary Waldo and Katie Pennington

·        Design and model a village, using Mechanical Desktop and cereal boxes

Automated Manufacturing

·        By Paul Johnson, John Odum and Katie Pennington

·        Design and model a machine that automates a simple manufacturing operation Using Lego Mindstorms

(The projects began prior to ’99)

Administration

The projects enjoy the generous support of the public schools. School staff members accompany the students and assist with the projects. The schools pay for project materials, preparation, instruction and coordination (mostly from Vermont Tech faculty and staff). Starting in ’06 the schools also pay some administrative costs (contracts, payroll, invoicing, etc.).

The projects also enjoy the generous support of Vermont Technical College. The college contributes facilities (like computer labs and machine shops), technician time, and oversight from the Academic Dean’s office. The college also contributes most of the costs for administration (contracts, payroll, invoicing, etc.).

Warning to Parents and Students

In these projects many of the technologies are inherently dangerous. Of course, if a student is not comfortable with a dangerous technology, someone else will use it for them.

Students and parents should also understand that a place, where technologies like power tools are used, is an inherently dangerous environment. We have been fortunate to have avoided a terrible accident.

If a student shows a dangerous lack of skill or judgment, an instructor or staff member may remove them from the project. Many risks, however, can not be countered by close supervision. All students and parents should be warned that errors in concentration, skill or judgment can quickly lead to injury.

Also, even a person doing the right thing might get hurt by a freak accident or someone else’s mistake.

We recommend an attitude of calm mindful respect for the inherent dangers of technology.

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