With 3D printers, conventional fabrication equipment, laser cutting equipment, automated manufacturing tools, Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and more, Saugus High School’s newly-opened Makerspace is an engineering student’s dream.
The high school unveiled its 3,000-sqaure-foot facility to the public Friday with a luncheon, ribbon cutting ceremony and tour.
“It is exciting kids a lot,” Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde said. “If they weren’t thinking of engineering before, now they are.”
Saugus Engineering Teacher Tom Mataya researched and purchased most of the items in the Makerspace with a California Career Pathway Trust Makerspace, in addition to donations from SMTCL Americas.
“I try to get every common form of manufacturing represented in the lab to teach things by hand and use the technologies,” Mataya said. “I’m not sure that other Makerspaces have the automated manufacturing abilities… it allowed us to go above and beyond.”
Students using the Makerspace are part of the school’s four-year Engineering Pathway Program that promotes 21st-century learning and allows students to explore careers in design, engineering and advanced manufacturing through the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum.
The program’s goal is to connect kids with STEM education and careers from kindergarten to post-secondary education in what Mataya calls K-14 career technical education.
“It is a process and they have to have the education behind it,” Mataya said. “It starts at Arroyo Seco and will reach down into elementary schools.”
In its three years, the program has grown from 40 students to more than 200 students, according to Bolde.
The school’s first set of Engineering Pathway Program students, now juniors, have worked with 3D solid manufacturing, robotics, flight science, rocketry, bridge design and statics.
“It’s a lot of learning from experience and then you build it and design it,” junior Micaiah Chau said.
Junior Jared Tirone said the students have created bridges, gliders, robots, rocket simulators, 3D models and more. And with the new space, Tirone and others hope to manufacture even more.
“Now with this space the possibilities are endless,” said Tirone, who is interested in the aerospace field and game design. “It’s a gateway to see so many different opportunities.”
The program at the high school is allowing students to explore their imagination and use elements of science, technology engineering and math to develop their skills and create.
“Something that really sparked my interest was the design process of it… to see all of the different outcomes and possibilities through design,” said Junior Delano Right. “Overall this program enhances the applications for manufacturing.”
Bolde said the space is exciting a lot of students and making a difference in their approach to education.
“The kids are having a blast doing this,” Bolde said. “I’m proud of the teachers, I’m proud of the students and I’m proud to be part of a district like this.”
Junior Anthony Show said he is looking forward to seeing what he can build and learn in the Makerspace.
“A place like this will get you more hands-on to see what you can create,” Show said.
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