Posts Tagged ‘math’

Resource List for Career Exploration

Friday, January 13th, 2012

How do you get high school students interested in a career in science? It all starts with exposure and image. Traditionally, high school is a time when realistic considerations of one’s future first come into play and related choices are made. Developmentally, the cognitive skills of these students are at an intersection where their current abilities, their sense of achievement and their thoughts about their future all come together. If they do not feel immediately successful at a task, they will often quit or move on to something else. Students at this level are busy establishing their identities, integrating the likes and dislikes of others, and weighing the relevance of outside influences. Ultimately, when they emerge from adolescence, they will be asked to make choices for their futures (e.g., choose a college and declare a major or enter the workforce). It is for this reason that it is so important to provide them with as much information about different job opportunities and exposure to careers in the STEM fields as possible. ATETV is one resource for this. Others include:

Career Cornerstone
The Sloan Career Cornerstone website provides some career information, profiles, video clips and advice on educational pathways to specific STEM Careers.

Careers in Welding
An American Welding Society and National Center for Welding Education & Training (Weld-Ed) web portal that profiles careers, offers fun facts and other information about welding, profiles companies and showcases videos.

Discover Engineering
From the site:”Engineering is not science. Engineers generally don’t “do” science. Science is about discovering the natural. Engineering is creating the artificial.” Tune in to the Discover Engineering Web site to learn what engineering is, read about various careers, try cool engineering activities and watch informational videos.

Dream It. Do It.
Dream It. Do It. is a nationwide effort supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, employers within the manufacturing economy and other groups around the country. Their Web-site offers a career toolkit and videos related to high-tech manufacturing jobs.

Engineer Girl
Aimed primarily at middle school girls, the Engineer Girl Web-site has profiles of women in engineering, discusses what classes should be taken in high school and explores engineering careers for women.

Engineer Your Life
The sister site to Engineer Girl, this site is a guide to engineering specifically geared to high school girls. This site is a place where they can go to read about their dream jobs and meet inspiring women.

Engineering K12 Center (American Society for Engineering Education)
eGFI is proudly brought to you by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). This group is committed to promoting and enhancing efforts to improve K-12 STEM and engineering education. On their site you can find out how to become an engineer, read through college information, and check out spotlights of people working in the field.

Gotta Have IT (National Center for Women & Information Technology)
NCWIT has multiple outreach campaigns and career information including Gotta Have IT is an all-in-one computing resource kit designed with educators’ needs in mind. A select set of high-quality posters, computing and IT careers information, digital media and more, the resource kit builds awareness and inspires interest in computing. Gotta Have IT is for all students, but is especially inclusive for girls.

I-SEEK Careers: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
I-SEEK is Minnesota’s career, education and job resource. Here you will find multiple ways to assess your skills and explore related careers, all the relevant information you will need on planning your education and tips on how to find a job.

Internet Science and Technology Fair
From October through February of each year, student teams apply technology to real-world problems when they participate in the ISTF. They form teams and complete online investigations in science, engineering, and other technical fields. Each team then gets the opportunity to work with a practicing scientist or engineer who acts as the team’s on-line technical advisor. The ultimate goal is that through this experience, the students will become more interested in science careers and understand the innovation process.

LifeWorks
An interactive career exploration web site for middle and high school students sponsored by the National Institutes of Health with information on more than 100 medical science and health careers by title, education required, interest area, or median salary. Alternatively, the “Career Finder” can be used to generate a customized list of careers especially suited for users’ skills and interests.

STEM Career
A brokering site that supports STEM advocates by providing information on STEM initiatives, student access, and career readiness.

STEM Career Depot

State-of-the-art career assessment and planning resources for everyone

Texas Instrument Student Zone
Texas Instrument offers STEM career resources for students to explore, STEM degrees, careers, courses, and projects.

The Fun Works
This project is a compilation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career development information for middle school and early high school youth. The goal is to create a comprehensive career development resource that is inviting and engaging the diverse populations of middle and early high school students, that builds on their diverse interests, and draws them into a range of career exploration options and resources.

Virtual Skies
Produced by NASA for use in high schools and flight technology programs, Virtual Skies explores the worlds of aviation technology, air traffic management, and current research.

Vocational Information Center- Manufacturing Career Guide

Explore careers in Manufacturing with the following links to job descriptions, which include information such as daily activities, skill requirements, salary and training required. To learn more about the Manufacturing Industry, follow the related links below the career descriptions section.

Women Tech World
“A national on-line home for women technicians to connect with each other.” For those interested, this site offers information about various technical careers, profiles of current professionals and FAQs for females interested in pursuing STEM careers.

You Can Be Anything
A video and lesson plan using the power of media to give young people, particularly girls and young women, a very positive impression of the career opportunities available in information technology (IT) and science-related fields where technology plays a major role.

Lesson Plans: Real World Math

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

real world math

The economists are telling us that now may be the time to buy a house. According to a report this week in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, mortgage rates are the lowest on record. Real estate specialists tell us that there are lots of properties available. It’s a buyer’s market.

But why are we writing about this here? Because, like so many other real-life activities, becoming a homeowner involves a lot of math. Just listen to this sentence from the Bloomberg BusinessWeek article: “Buying a $300,000 home at current rates means a monthly mortgage bill of about $1,158, assuming a 20 percent down payment. Delaying a purchase until next year would put the tab higher, at $1,186, based on the MBA forecast for prices and rates. That amounts to an $18,000 difference over a 30-year mortgage for those who wait.”

As we’ve learned time and again from the educators, employers and employees featured on ATETV, math is critical for just about every technical skill and vocation. But there’s no question that math and algebra, in particular, have a lot of practical applications beyond the classroom and the workplace.

Think you’ll never use algebra in real life? We turned to ATE Central and found the following algebra lesson plans. They sound pretty valuable in today’s real estate market.

How Much Does This House Really Cost? Buying a house is likely to be the single largest financial purchase a person ever makes. And unless you’re in the enviable – and unlikely — position that enables you to pay the entire cost upfront, you’ll have to get a mortgage. Check out this lesson plan from the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education to learn how mortgages are calculated and to better understand what the costs of a property will be over the course of 30 years. Using a hypothetical mortgage amount, students enter their geographic living areas on a financial website to determine current mortgage interest rates (from dozens of nearby lending institutions).

Students then calculate the monthly mortgage payment using a given formulation, a scientific or graphing calculator and online interest rates and calculate the total amount paid for the house at the end of a 30-year mortgage, with interest included. They also compare results with the same mortgage calculated over 10, 15 or 20 years.

Okay, so students have taken out their hypothetical mortgages. But what if they’d like to pay those hypothetical loans off early? The Extra House Payments Effect lesson plan gives students a first-hand look at how financial institutions make use of monthly mortgage payments and describes mortgage amortization formulas. (The plan also explains the effect of making extra principal payments each month on both the length of the loan and the amount of interest to be paid – important lessons for everyone!)

Finally, new student “homeowners” can turn their attention to their lawns and landscaping. The Do I Have to Mow the Whole Thing? lesson plan helps students calculate dimensions for a garden of constant area, introducing them to the idea of inverse variation.

Check out ATE Central and the Real World Learning Objects Resource Library for more real-life lesson plans, including Cell Phone Algebra (in which students compare cell phone plans), Logarithms and Car Payments and Algebra for Athletes.

Math and Chocolate! What a Sweet World!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

This week, in an attempt to answer that age-old question many students continually have of “Why study mathematics?” ATETV ventured out into a local community to uncover the less-than-obvious places where Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics might be hiding.

Kakao Chocolatier Brian Pelletier- St. Louis, Missouri

Kakao Chocolatier Brian Pelletier- St. Louis, Missouri

Our first stop? A gourmet chocolate shop of course! (It is all in the line of duty.) At Kakao in St. Louis, MO, we spent some time with chocolatier Brian Pelletier. Knowing that he liked math and was also good at solving technical problems, Brian originally started out by studying to be a computer engineer. Along the way to graduation this path took a couple of different turns and he ultimately finished with a degree in technical writing. For the next 20 years, he had a successful career in business writing and PR.

How did he go from that to making chocolate? Good question! One day, Brian looked around and realized he was ready for something different. The only things he knew for sure were these: he wanted to own his own business; he wanted to do something very different than what he had been doing- preferably with his hands; and he loved food. As he searched for his next opportunity, he prepared himself for the realities of both starting over financially and of learning an entire new trade. Brian didn’t know at that point which skills in his repertoire would translate and what new ones he’d have to acquire. But, he was ready to find out!

Mixing Up a Batch

Mixing Up a Batch

His chance would come along soon enough. That next opportunity came when a friend presented Brian with an existing chocolate business. Without knowing anything about making chocolate, he happily took over. The challenge then was to learn what he needed to learn to be successful. Assuming he was a long way away from all his previous training, Brian set about to gather whatever information he could find. First his friend passed along her notes on her recipe successes and failures. To make sense of these notes, Brian’s mathematical brain took over. He created a spread sheet with all her recipes and quickly identified ingredient proportions and cooking patterns that he continues to apply now to his newest recipe innovations.

In addition, his friend recommended the book “Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner” by Peter Greweling. Brian purchased this and discovered that the relevance for him was not in the recipes themselves but in the scientific approach to chocolate making. The book is similar to a textbook. It explains formulas, chemical processes, temperatures, dew points, humidity factors, emulsions, etc. My personal favorite was a designated chapter on “The Polymorphism of Cocoa Butter.”

Brian told me that if he hadn’t had the background in mathematics and science, he wouldn’t have known how to make sense of this information. For him, the relevance of his mathematics education was more than specific problems, skill sets or content. For him, it was a way of thinking and a foundation of strategies that he applies daily.

Brian and Jaerel - Hard at Work

Brian and Jaerel - Hard at Work

Think you may also be interested in taking on a new career? Perhaps entrepreneurship is in your future? For students everywhere, Brian recommends always paying attention to opportunities around you and not locking yourself into any situation. The beauty of a college education is that it teaches you valuable life skills like “how to learn” as well as “problem-solving”, “team-building” and other fundamentals that not only will make you a better employee but also just might be the bridge that connects you to a future you never even imagined.

Just ask 16-year old Jaerel Hulsey. Jaerel is a student at Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory School and an employee in Brian’s shop. “Math is everyday life,” he tells me. “It’s knowing how many minutes I have to get to work, how many bags I need for packaging the chocolate, how many ounces I am putting in each bag, etc.” Jaerel loves math and thinks one day he might want to go into architecture. But as we’ve seen from Brian, anything is possible.

Jaerel Hulsey

Jaerel Hulsey

ATETV Episode 27: The Numbers Add Up

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

This week we begin by exploring Lasers and Photonics Technologies and Wind Energy technology, and end by focusing on the ways that community colleges are providing students with the core math skills they’ll need to succeed in both of these fields –as well as every other area of technology.

In our first segment, we meet Central Carolina Community College student Todd Devine, who is enrolled in the college’s Laser and Photonics Engineering program. “I have always liked lasers, and ever since I was little I was tinkering with things, and it’s just grown from there.” This lifelong interest is now evolving into a promising career path, with laser technology being used in fields as diverse as surgical procedures and music and video technology.

“Every day there is a new application coming out for lasers, so it’s creating a lot of jobs,” notes Central Carolina’s Gary Beasley. “And guess what? There are not enough technicians to support those applications in the medical field or in telecommunications.” But Central Carolina’s program aims to change that, and Todd Devine is proof positive.

“When I graduate, I think I am going to look toward the medical fields that are dealing with lasers, and help mankind in some way,” says Todd. “I want to do something useful for the world.”

Similarly, as we see in our second segment, the students in the Wind Energy program at Wyoming’s Laramie County Community College are also looking at their technology curriculum as important not just for their careers, but also for our environment and our society.

“When my students come to class, people aren’t sleeping,” says Laramie’s Michael Schmidt. “They are very focused on what they are learning. These people are excited.”

The Wind Energy program is designed to prepare technicians to go into the wind industry to repair utility skill wind turbines, large commercial machines with complex control systems that allow them to produce energy efficiently and to maximize capability. The highly skilled students who emerge from the program are versed in all aspects of wind energy technology, from introduction to wind power, to electricity, hydraulics, and all of the basic core skills needed to excel in the field.

And essential to students’ success is a firm foundation in mathematics. “Math and science are very critical,” adds Michael Schmidt. “Mathematics, specifically, apply to the technical part of the program. Our technicians have to have an understanding of how power is produced. They have to have an understanding of power quality because this power is ultimately delivered to a utility, ends up on a grid and is then delivered to the consumer.”

Which brings us to our third segment, which shows us why community colleges are great places for students to get up to speed in algebra, calculus and other core math skills.

“All technology goes back to math,” notes Scott Edwards of Juniper Networks. “The more you know about math, the better you understand it, and the more clear will be the complex topics that you are going to learn in the future.”

And community college programs provide the support and guidance to enable students to tackle the challenges of higher level mathematics. As Laser and Photonics student Todd Devine tells prospective students, “If you are struggling with math in high school right now, [you should know] that if you just study hard and work through it, it will all pay off.”

Adds Andrew Maynard of the Springfield Technical Community College faculty, “The nice thing about community colleges is that if you are not up to speed in math — whether because you’ve been out of school for awhile or because you had trouble with math in high school — we offer remedial classes to help bring you up to the college level, so you don’t fail.”

And, as this week’s episode shows, success in math translates to success in any technology career.

ATETV Episode 10: Back to Fundamentals

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

We’ve been talking a lot about big ideas in ATE on this blog: women in science and tech, social media as an educational tool, and the coming green economy. This week we’re turning to focus on two very practical and important parts of the educational experience: the math and science classes high school students need to be taking to get into ATE programs, and the internships that will help them land jobs after they complete their degrees.

But first, we profile student Matthew Kusza, who is studying environmental technology at Cape Cod Community College. Like many of our previous student profiles, Matthew turned to ATE to help him change careers. “I have four kids, and keeping busy with that and school and working to pay the bills,” he told us. “Most of the classes are at night, so that’s very supportive in terms of a work environment.”

Next we head out west to Southwestern College in San Diego, which has had fantastic success placing students in internships — and placing interns in jobs after school. “We still to this day have a hundred percent hiring rate with the industry of any intern that has completed a ten-week internship with an industry host,” explains Nouna Bakhiet, director of the school’s biotechnology program. By consulting with industry when designing their program, Southwestern is guaranteeing that students are graduating with the skills companies want and need.

Finally, we get back to basics and discuss the importance of basic math and science skills for ATE students. It’s not just that taking those classes in high school will better prepare students for ATE programs; it’s also essential for landing a job afterwards. “In our world, it’s of utmost importance that they have science and math because without that, they don’t have the technical expertise that we require,” explains Jill Heiden of South Carolina-based ESAB Welding and Cutting Products.

Math, science and internships: three fundamental building blocks of a strong ATE program and a successful career and in science and technology.