Howell Experience

I taught for 18 years between two middle schools in Howell. In that time, I covered a wide range of topics. I have taught about the design process, problem solving, basic woodworking, power tool safety, robotics, CAD, and 3D printing. My 8th graders created a design for a dragster through a systematic process and then built that design using power tools. This process includes a prototype stage where students used measurements and math to create a prediction for their final product. Students in 7th grade learned about basic mechanisms and programing to build automated systems. My 6th graders learned about computer aided design and created a product that is 3D printed. Some of my classes have changed over the years and I believe my ability to be creative and flexible has allowed me to maintain a quality STEM program.

Classwork Examples

8th Grade Applied Tech Dragsters - The class spends the entire quarter completing the CO2 Dragster Project. Students create a foam prototype first and use this to gather data. A prediction can be made about how fast the dragster will go based on the data. The prototype also lets students learn to work material on the bandsaw and get a sense of what their car will look like before they start in with a wood blank.

7th Grade Automation & Robotics - Students learn about mechanisms and then basic programming. They then combine these two skills to create automated systems that increase in complexity with every project.

6th Grade Design & Modeling - The 6th graders learn about computer aided design in this class. They start off with primitive shapes and projects become more detailed as the students improve.

7th Grade Automation & Robotics VexVR - Student use instructional videos for a virtual robot programming tool from Vex Robotics called VexVR. My students were able to easily shift online in the spring of 2020 to continue learning about robotics using this brand new resource.

7th Grade Applied Tech Straw Rockets - The 7th graders learn about the history of rockets, design process, measurement, statistics, and teamwork. The class works together to develop a straw rocket design and then uses the rockets in a competition for accuracy.

7th Grade Applied Tech Catapults - After the straw rocket unit, the class moves to the shop to learn basic woodworking skills. Students form teams of two to design and build a catapult. The catapult is tested with mini-marshmallows aimed at targets on the floor.

6th Grade Applied Tech Bridge/Structures - In 6th Grade Applied Tech, the focus is on structures and the design process with a bridge project. Students explore the concepts with sample joints that are tested to failure and then use that experience to draw a plan. They build their bridges right on top of their plan and assemble the parts into a completed bridge.

Sketching and Technical Drawing - I teach about sketching and technical drawing throughout the STEM curriculum. These are important skills that are used in the design process. 6th graders learn about basic line types, isometric sketching, and multiview projections. 8th graders are required to complete a quality multiview drawing of their dragster before starting their project on the machines.

Collaborative Projects

C.A.M.P - Communication Arts and Media Production was a combined class were another teacher. They learned about communication skills and storytelling, while I taught technical skills like videography and editing.

Project H.O.U.S.E - This was a combined project with a teacher from the other middle school in Howell. In their class, they learned about Habitat for Humanity to create promotional material and presentations. My 8th Grade Applied Tech class built doll houses that were raffled off at a local home show. Proceeds from the raffle went to Habitat for Humanity. Our work was submitted to Microsoft and we were selected for the 2006 Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum.

Beowulf - I assisted a 7th Grade Advanced ELA class in producing a short cartoon telling the story of Beowulf. The Advanced ELA students read the epic as part of their curriculum, and then worked in teams to complete the many different tasks required for the production. These tasks included: writing the script, creating storyboards, crafting backgrounds and moving elements out of construction paper. They also photographed each frame of animation, managed the workflow of photographs, recorded voice acting and narration, and finally edited the video. I was asked to participate because of my technical expertise in media production and video editing.

School Community Involvement

Musicals - Since 2003, I have assisted with the school's musicals. I have taken photos, made promotional videos, coordinated set build, and produced one show.

Additional Training

Project Lead the Way - Automation and Robotics. PLTW Core Teacher Training about building and programming automated systems using VEX hardware and RobotC.

Project Lead the Way - Design and Modeling. PLTW Core Teacher Training about the design process and CAD software.

Capturing Kids' Hearts - Training on building community in the classroom environment.