PESHTIGO — Peshtigo technology education instructor Mike Paquette knows the importance of what his students are learning.
“Technology education is where it all comes together,” he said. “A lot of people don’t see that. This is where we integrate science, math and English. I love learning new content every year. Technology is always changing.”
“We have so many job opportunities with technology right here in our community,” Paquette continued. He explained that the goal of Peshtigo’s seventh-grade technology education class is designed to provide students with some ideas for possible careers. It’s taught in person and virtually.
Virtually, students learn computer aided design (CAD) skills which they then use to design a coaster and use a laser engraver to cut it out.
NWTC brings its two mobile labs, the ElectroMechanical Training Lab and the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Lab, to Peshtigo Middle High School as part of the technical education class in seventh grade. Electromechanical and mechanical system technology is basically learning how computers work to control machines.
Paquette said, “I’m so grateful to have NWTC partnership with us and help us to teach kids some of these concepts by bringing part of their teaching technology right to our building. We want to thank John Schlies and Chase Clover of NWTC for all of their support.”
“Careers in manufacturing and engineering are exciting, challenging and rewarding. Workers are retiring and we have a huge need for skilled technicians, programmers, engineers and designers.”
Schlies, a manufacturing aide at NWTC, loves to see “students excited to learn new concepts like pressure, flow and velocity in NWTC’s Mobile Modular Pneumatics trainer.”
According to Paquette, “Following directions is one of the most important building concepts people need to learn. We expose students to the process of development from drawing a concept to creating a prototype to finally making something. Students learn some simple design principles folding and manipulating paper to build stronger structures.”
Paper can be strengthened by folding in the same way sheet metal can.
“Paper is inexpensive, easy to obtain and easily recyclable,” Paquette said. “We build planes, bridges and then boats all made of paper, although we do need to coat the boats in wax.”
Students learn some integrated physics related to flight while experimenting with various paper airplane designs. They also learn to mount motors on model planes to get maximum flight output. Engineering design concepts are applied in a final project whereas students build a small paper boat and mount a remote controlled motor to the airboat.
Seventh-grade student Mackenzie Shepherd said, “I loved designing on the computer and learned that you have to make many prototypes before you can make the final product. Tech ed. is better than other classes because you get to make things. I could maybe see myself as a designer(engineer) in the future.”
Student Elliot Proft said, “I learned to be patient. I also learned that you need to redo things and keep going until it works!”
“We want to offer students more options, especially in learning automotive technology, the construction trades, CNC machining, welding techniques, and agricultural technology,” Paquette said. “Our community has told us we need to move more in this direction to better prepare students for jobs that are in high demand right here.”
Paquette has taught in Marinette and in Peshtigo for many years and loves teaching technology concepts to middle and high school students. He’s excited to see so many members of the community join the Peshtigo CONNECT meetings and now many people are joining the Peshtigo Facilities Committee.
“We’re running out of space in our building. We want to offer more technology and manufacturing classes, but we don’t have room,” he said.