|

Jefferson club emphasizes project-based learning

Uriel Garcia isn’t going to let any learning loss — any summer slide — happen to him. In fact, he’s going to build a 3D printer. From scratch.

Garcia will be a senior next fall at Jefferson High School. He’s one of the fortunate students under the direction of Jefferson architecture teacher Craig Stenberg, who this summer will lead a Rockford Public Schools ACT exploratory class on building a 3D printer from scratch.

Jefferson High School student Uriel Garcia (standing in foreground) explains the wiring in a remotely operated vehicle, part of a project in partnership with the John G. Shedd Aquarium.

Jefferson High School student Uriel Garcia (standing in foreground) explains the wiring in a remotely operated vehicle, part of a project in partnership with the John G. Shedd Aquarium.

Both Uriel and Mr. Stenberg tried to describe it to me: It involves using a laser cutter and an existing 3D printer to make the pieces for a new 3D printer. But beyond that, I was lost. They begin Monday, and they have only two weeks. Go!

Uriel met Mr. Stenberg for the first time at last summer’s exploratory class. Right away, the teacher pegged him for membership in Jefferson’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), which is open to students districtwide.

The chapter is one of only nine high school chapters in the country and the only high school chapter that attends the AIAS national convention. This fall, the local AIAS group will be going to Nashville. Mr. Stenberg said the convention is a great opportunity for high school students to connect with architecture students who are studying at a higher level.

Uriel is saving for the Nashville trip by working this summer. A member of the BAMIT (Business, Arts, Modern World Languages and Information Technology) Academy at Jefferson, Uriel wants to attend Rock Valley College and then, perhaps, Northern Illinois University to study business or engineering.

He has been the lead designer, wiring expert and team captain for a submersible, remotely operated vehicle (ROV), a project the architecture group is doing in partnership with the John G. Shedd Aquarium’s “Submerged in Science”  program.

Mr. Stenberg, who was an architect for 11 years before he was a teacher, believes strongly in project-based learning. His goal is to get his students in the habit of talking about constraints and opportunities.

He remembers his own learning style, which led him to major in both animal ecology and architecture at Iowa State University and to strive to blend the two passions. “I always wanted to be as hands-on as possible, as immersed as possible.”

Like all good teachers, Mr. Stenberg is passing on his gifts to lucky students like Uriel Garcia.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator at the Rockford Public Schools. Contact her at mary.kaull@rps205.com. Like the district on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Share:

Leave a Reply