At Ashwaubenon High School, one final exam ends with a checkered flag instead of “pencils down.”
In an effort to set STEAM (that’s science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, for the uninitiated) apart, this district’s tech ed teacher, Jeremie Meyer, gives students an opportunity to design, build, and race their own Formula One-style cars. Take a look at the video!
Skills covered in the course include CAD (computer-aided drafting), welding, fabrication, and troubleshooting, all with a heavy emphasis on teamwork. Each spring, the class travels to the Road America Track in Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin, to test out their handiwork.
“Any problem that we have, we have to figure out as a team.”
–Marisa Marohl, Senior, Ashwaubenon High School
In the year leading up to their fast-paced final exam, the class works together to build their car from scratch. This process includes reaching out to the community for donations, engineering a frame for the vehicle, manufacturing the frame, and putting it all together. If that sounds simple, don’t be fooled.
Marisa Marohl, a senior, describes her previous experience working with her classmates at the Road America track, where they had to pull the engine from their car seven times. In this course, everyone has specific tasks they’re responsible for, but teamwork is key to achieving the end goal.
“That’s what we want students to be able to do, to stand on their own two feet when they get out in the world, working a real job. They’re their own person—they can solve their own problems.”
–Jeremie Meyer, Tech Ed Teacher, Ashwaubenon High School
The entire Ashwaubenon community supports students in their pursuit of power. Several local businesses have sponsored cars through donations, some including heavy machinery required to build an entire car on school property. The students in the class are active in building those relationships; they solicit donations by presenting to community organizations and businesses about their goals.
“The students actually go out and present to potential sponsors… It gives students a chance to feel that pressure, and organize, and work as a team.”
–Keith Lucius, Assistant Superintendent, Ashwaubenon School District
Jeremie Meyer describes the outcomes for students in his class as promising for the STEAM field. Former students have gone on to create synthetic red blood cells, become military test pilots, pursue four-year degrees, or attend tech schools. They learn to represent themselves professionally using skills gained in his class building and racing cars.
Meyer enjoys seeing students take on leadership roles, especially when it's those he wouldn't have expected. Students take charge of their own tasks and take on the responsibility of helping their classmates master skills they already know.
STEAM skills may be the focus of this fast-paced course, but teamwork and accountability aren’t far behind.
Follow-up resource: The foundation of STEAM
Computational thinking produces the building blocks of technology and engineering.