Beloit Middle School Students Apply STEM Principles and Ingenuity to Build a Working LEGO Robot

Michael Reader

On November 24, 2014, Shaun Zinck of the Beloit Daily News reported on an initiative by a group of middle school students, led by engineering teacher Tammy Spoerk and mentored by high school students. The group is called cyBER (Community Youth Beloit Engineering Robots), and is composed by students from three area middle schools.

The goal of the team was to participate in a FIRST LEGO League competition with an innovative working design project. The outcome was a robot built out of LEGOs and programed to avoid obstacles in front of it (via installed sensors) and perform a series of tasks.

The students earned a standby spot for the state sectionals. Prior to building the robot, the students developed a concept for communicating with other students throughout the world with the aid of a cardboard projector.

Precision Plus directly supports this initiative. Ryan Rewey, Career and Technical Education Director at the School District of Beloit, wrote: “Thanks for your donation to our FLL team, we are continuing to build our program and could not do it without the guidance from our dedicated industry professionals who understand the importance of the industry and education connection.”

Read the full article here.

Precision Plus’ Barry Butters Asked to Be a Judge at the Wisconsin Project Lead The Way 2014 EDD Competition

Michael Reader

Barry Butters, Director of Training and Education at Precision Plus was asked to participate as a judge in the Wisconsin Project Lead The Way 2014 Engineering Design and Development (EDD) Competition. There were a total of 24 judges assessing the projects of 19 teams.

Being that Butters is a certified EDD instructor, he knew the process well. Each judge was assigned five teams to listen to and observe, and score based on predetermined scoring rubric, after which an average score was compiled. The caliber of the teams was outstanding. “I was truly impressed with the quality of the students’ work,” said Butters, “It seemed as though some of the groups were already degreed engineers.”

The winning entry was from Oconomowoc, and Butters had the privilege to judge that team. The results of your work are as follows:  The entry, “Active Radiation Shielding for Manned Interplanetary Space Flight” received the average high score.  This team will receive a $5,000 cash award.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) supports young men and women by making available Engineering and Biomedical Sciences classes that lead to exciting new careers.  For more information about Wisconsin Project Lead The Way EDD Competition, click here.

Butters looks forward to being a judge at the 2015 EDD Competition.

Elkhorn Area High School Students and Precision Plus Visit Wisconsin’s SkillsUSA Competition at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin

Michael Reader

Students from Elkhorn Area High School, advisor Fred Ganter (pictured on the far right), and Barry Butters of Precision Plus visited the Wisconsin SkillsUSA competition, which was held at the Alliant Energy Center on April 30, 2014. Precision Plus sponsored the transportation of the group. This was an important event for the students, as they are looking into participating in the robotics competition next year.

Butters also had the opportunity to go to Madison Area Technical College where the SkillsUSA Machining Competition took place.

One June 23-27, 2014, the 50th Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Championships will take place in Kansas City, Missouri.  Last year, the keynote speaker at the conference was Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs.  Click here to watch the keynote address on YouTube.

The SkillsUSA promotional video below, summarizes the essence of the conference and the movement.

Waukesha’s Catholic Memorial High School PLTW Students Design a Steering Wheel that Prevent Texting and Driving, and a Summertime Sled

Michael Reader

On April 30, 2014, students from Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin showcased several engineering design and development projects which were completed as a result of their involvement with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program.

Among the projects showcased, was a steering wheel that requires both hands to stay on at all times, so as to prevent texting while driving. Another project featured a sled that was adapted for summertime enjoyment. Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus, had been invited to attend the exhibit by the Waukesha Business Alliance Education Committee, and he was thoroughly impressed with the design and products featured by the students.

In partnership with schools, Project Lead The Way promotes “pre-engineering courses for middle and high school students.” According to PLTW, there are currently 1.3 million engineering-related jobs that go unfulfilled due to the lack of qualified individuals. Courses from PLTW integrate STEM education—science, technology, education and math.

We congratulate the Catholic Memorial H.S. students whose ideas and designs are sure to rock several industries.

Precision Plus Supports DECA and Participates in Wisconsin’s Competition’s Judging

Michael Reader

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is a great organization, which provides a comprehensive learning program that enhances students’ future options preparing them for college and careers. By offering them co-curricular programs that integrate into classroom instruction, students are able to apply learning in the context of business, connect with business and the community, and participate in real-world competition. Student members leverage their DECA experience to become academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, and experienced leaders. DECA’s mission is “To prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.”

The DECA Wisconsin State Competition was held at the Grand Geneva Resort on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18-19, 2014. Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, represented Precision Plus by serving as a judge for the competition. “Seeing the students present a solution to a problem given to them minutes before their presentations was amazing. They showed creativity and resourcefulness in these presentations,” said Butters. It was my first time judging and we will certainly continue to support this organization.”