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Save the Date: 2014 Renewable Energy Fair

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Plan now to attend an electrifying event on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at Milford High School in Milford, Utah. For the sixth year in a row, Milford High School is hosting the Renewable Energy Fair where you will learn about renewable energy, the science behind it, its uses, and viability.

Milford is surrounded by large scale commercially produced renewable energy, where students use renewable energy at the school every day. The Fair explains how renewable energy is used and why it is important. The Fair will showcase the resources that make large scale production possible.

Andy Swapp, CTE teacher at Milford High School and founder of the Southwest Utah Renewable Energy Center, is passionate about renewable energy and the future of his students. “I want my students to become critical independent thinkers. I also want them to have fun learning! There’s something about creating your own power that is very exciting and – pardon the pun – empowering! Renewable energy allows students to put into action the math, science, and technology that they have accumulated in their high school career. The Renewable Energy Fair is a place to see what advances are taking place, network, and dream about your sustainable future.”

The culminating event at the Fair is an electric car endurance race. High School teams bring electric cars they have built and race for one hour. The car with the best endurance is awarded a trophy. Last year, Delta High School was awarded the first place trophy for their achievement in building a car that ran on renewable energy.

The Milford High School Renewable Energy class helps host the Fair every year and is an integral part of the Southwest Utah Renewable Energy Center. “The leadership acquired at this event is a learning and growing experience like no other. No matter how dark and dreary the news may get we have a bright future!” says Andy.

Who: Utah middle/junior high and high schools, postsecondary institutions, and the general public

What: 6th Annual Renewable Energy Fair

When: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Where: Milford High School– 62 North 300 West – Milford, Utah

Why: Learn about renewable energy, the science behind it, its uses, siting, installation, and viability.

> Opening Ceremony
Miss Utah, Ciera Pekarcik, and a local radio personality from the Rob and Dez B92.1 Morning Show will MC the event.
> Renewable Energy 101 breakout sessions
> Industry vendor booths
> Electric Car Endurance Race

Questions: Contact Andy Swapp at 435-387-2751 or andy.swapp@beaver.k12.ut.us

Related videos:
> The County Seat –Discussing Renewable Energy
American Wind Power – Clean. Affordable. Homegrown.
Firstwind Milford

CTE Students Excel at the 2014 Utah Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

Friday, April 4th, 2014

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Competition began in 1992 with 28 teams and has grown to hundreds of teams, with approximately 250,000 high school students competing in regional competitions throughout the world.

The goal is to model a business-like environment to create a product, the robot. FIRST provides each competing high school team with a common kit of robotic parts that weigh up to 150 pounds. Each team spends six weeks engineering a robot to solve a unique yearly challenge. In addition to using math, science, and engineering skills, this experience teaches students to be creative, to work as a team, use critical thinking and problem solving, manage projects, market themselves and their robot, troubleshoot issues, and manage their time in a real-world type setting.

This year, 99 FIRST Regional Competitions took place: 93 in the U.S., 4 in Canada, 1 in Mexico, and 1 in Israel. Each regional competition is an exhibition and celebration of the talents of many bright and creative high school students. Last month, the 2014 Utah Regional FIRST Robotic Competition took place at the Maverick Center in West Valley City, Utah and included 49 teams: Canada (1), Arizona (1), California (4), Colorado (7), Hawaii (1), Idaho (9), Montana (1), New Mexico (1), Utah (22), and Wyoming (2). There was a variety of Utah educational groups represented: 13 public schools, 5 charter schools, 2 private schools, and 2 community groups. The 22 Utah teams were sponsored by an assortment of STEM programs: 14 teams were CTE programs in Engineering, Robotics, Electronics, and Multimedia; 6 were Math and Science, 1 Computer Programming, and 1 community 4H Engineering group.

Foreground: blue robot – Boise High School (#2122 Team Tators)
Background: red robots – left to right
Juan Diego High School (#3289 Soaring Eagles); Granger High School (#5345 BOLTS)
Brighton High School (#5159 Bengal Robotics)

Congratulations to the four Utah teams who won regional awards: Brighton High School (#5159 Bengal Robotics), Hillcrest High School (#4585 Husky Robotics), InTech Collegiate High (#2993 InTech MegaBots), and Utah State University (#3230 Prototype X). At the competition the Colorado Springs team (#2996 Cougars Gone Wired) selected the Granite Technical Institute team (#3139 The Wingnuts) to combine with them in the paired competition. This duo won the competitive portion of the competition and advances to the national FIRST Robotics Championship.

The 2014 FIRST Championship will be held April 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri. The FIRST Championship is the culmination of the season’s FIRST programs, bringing together robotics competitions for the ultimate Sport for the Mind™. Teams will compete for scholarships ranging from a one-time award of $500 to full four-year tuition (estimated at $160,000).

FIRST Robotics is a high-tech spectator event which combines the excitement of sports with science and technology. “Our mission is to show students of every age that science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future for us all,” says Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST and Inventor of the Segway.

WATCH the video of the 2014 FIRST Game Animation – Aerial Assist
the list of winners and participants

Related articles:
First Robotics Competition
Students to compete in robot competition at Maverick Center
Students put tech to the test in robotics competition
Photos: Student take part in robotics competition
Robotics contest draws teen engineers from Utah and beyond

STEM Education: The Way it Was Meant to Be

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

A team of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Technology and Engineering students at Layton High School, in Davis School District, have implemented their STEM education experience in perfect fashion. Victoria Alvizurez, Christopher Erickson, Lauren Scarlet, Tyler Stevens, Rebecca Stromberg, and Danielle Taylor were given the task of identifying an actual societal need. Then, through the use of the knowledge and skills gained in their collective STEM classes, their task was to meet that challenge.

As part of the Ability One Design Challenge, the student team decided to assist persons with significant disabilities to achieve their maximum employment potential. Guided by adept, intuitive instructors, and coupled with Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center (PARC) they were able to assist employees in increasing productivity by creating a “Truss Assembly Assistor.”

The student team produced the video below showing the mechanics of the “Truss Assembly Assistor” and how it made a difference in the ease of assembling the truss and increased productivity for the PARC employees.

If you’re inquisitive, are good at figuring out how things work and applying physics to solve problems, consider a career in engineering. Talk to your school counselor about registering for a course in one of the two CTE Technology and Engineering Education Pathways.

Monthly Math Challenge

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

TSA members, put your math skills to the test with a monthly math challenge. The challenges began in November 2013 and continue through March 2014. Brain-teasing math problems will be posted at http://teams.tsaweb.org/math-challenge. If you can figure out the math problems you will be eligible to be entered into a monthly drawing.

Who: Middle/junior high and high school TSA members

What: TEAMS Monthly Math Challenge

When: November 2013 through March 2014

Why: To prepare for the 2014 TEAMS competition1.

How: Submit your answer to the Monthly Math Challenge following the instructions at http://teams.tsaweb.org/math-challenge. Coaches will be notified by return email if their student’s answers are correct and those names will automatically be entered in the drawing for that month.

Prize: Only students on teams with an active registration for the 2014 TEAMS competition will be placed in the drawing. Each winner will receive a $25 gift card.

TEAMS: Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science

If you are not a member of TSA and would like to become a member, talk to your school counselor to get connected with the TSA advisor in your school.


1 The 2014 TEAMS competition is based on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge. The 2014 theme is: “Engineering Tomorrow’s Cities” to restore and improve urban infrastructure. At the competition, students will address engineering challenges in areas such as transportation, green space, and fresh water supply.

Utah Students Place in the Top Ten at TSA National Conference

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

On June 28 through July 2, more than 5,500 people from across the country attended the 2013 TSA National Conference in Orlando, Florida, including 91 Utah TSA student members and 42 Utah TSA advisors and parents.

From animatronics to digital video production to VEX robotics, Utah TSA middle and high school student members excelled as they competed against their peers in 58 technology-based competitive events. Congratulations to the 43 Utah TSA student members who placed in the top 10 in 22 competitive events. Each event was based on principles and concepts learned through projects during the school year in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects.

View list of Utah TSA national competition winners. The top ten finalists were given a “Finalist Pin” and the top 3 were awarded at trophy.

Follow TSA on Twitter
Like TSA on Facebook
Watch TSA on YouTube

Students to Compete at TSA National Leadership Conference

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

TSA student members are arriving in Orlando, Florida to attend the 35th TSA National Leadership Conference that will begin tomorrow, Friday, June 28 and continue through Tuesday, July 2. During this annual conference middle and high school TSA members will compete in over 60 technology based competitive events. These events are based on principles and concepts learned through projects during the school year in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. Leadership training and special interest sessions will also be held during the conference. Approximately 5,000 TSA members from across the country are expected to attend.

> Middle School Competitive Event Schedule
> High School Competitive Event Schedule

View: Conference Program

 TSA: A Tradition of Excellence

Herriman High School Students Work in a SmartLab

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

By Kim Durfee
Technology and Engineering Teacher and TSA Advisor at Herriman High School

Have you ever had an idea that would make a task easier? What can a talented and motivated learner achieve in a true 21st century learning environment? How about creating a mechanical prosthetic hand for his niece? Tanner Day, a senior at Herriman High School, will tell you that all he needed was the right idea, the right resources and a place in his school where he was free to be creative and express his passion for building things. Tanner and many other students find this perfect combination within the SmartLab. In Tanner’s case, having a supportive mentor/SmartLab facilitator to encourage him and a beautiful little niece for inspiration didn’t hurt.

In my 30 plus years of teaching, the most rewarding years have been the last 20 as a SmartLab facilitator watching kids achieve more than they ever imaged they could. Every year we have students like Tanner who catch on fire with an inspiring project idea that causes them to stretch and grow in ways that makes you proud to be a part of their growing experience. We can motive and inspire hundreds students like Tanner by providing them with access to state of the art technology, equipment, curriculum and the space and freedom to be creative. I have personally watched my SmartLab students and many others in SmartLabs all around the country, develop engineering skills, but more importantly the 21st century learning skills they need to be career and college ready. Whether it’s a TSA robotics competition championship or one of my students taking first place at the Utah Film Festival, the method, the story of how they got there is the same…student-centered, project based learning. SmartLabs are 21st century learning environments, custom designed and supported by Creative Learning Systems.

Read the success stories of Tanner Day and other Herriman High School students:
> 3-year-old’s uncle builds prosthetic hand
> Herriman High TSA highlights

See what other SmartLab students from around the country are doing at Student Project Showcase.

Nationally, engineering is the second largest of all professions. According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, by the year 2020 Utah’s workforce is expected to include a total of 25,670 people working as engineers, drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians.

The Technology Student Association (TSA) is the only student organization dedicated exclusively to students enrolled in Technology and Engineering classes in grades 7-12. TSA fosters personal growth, leadership training, career development, teamwork, community service, competitive events, and student recognition to supplement the curriculum in Technology and Engineering. To become a member of Utah TSA contact the TSA advisor in your school.

If you have an idea that would make a task easier and would like to participate in a Technology and Engineering Pathway talk to your school counselor. Your school counselor can assist you with registering for a Career and Technical Education class in the Technology and Engineering Pathway that will give you the opportunity to work in a SmartLab.

Hunter Okerlund: Future Mechanical Engineering Technician

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Hunter Okerlund
Occupational Goal: Mechanical Engineering Technician

“I am very interested in the field of engineering because technology changes all the time. There will always be problems to solve and processes to improve.

“I have always liked doing hands-on projects and thinking of different ways to make something better. With my CTE classes in Project Lead the Way, I was able to see whole processes, from the design stage on paper to transferring that design and idea into a computer application, then all the way to building a prototype. I hope to use these classes and experiences in a future college class to further my education, and in a career to improve systems in business and communities.”

 —Hunter Okerlund, Fremont High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Hunter on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award he received to Weber State University. Hunter was one of 102 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

Meet Braden Eichmeier: Future Engineer

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

BRADEN EICHMEIER, senior at Bonneville High School in Weber School District.

CTE Pathway: Braden is currently enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-Engineering Program. He has participated in this pathway of pre-engineering studies for the past four years, taking five of the seven courses available.

Senior Project: Braden placed second at the Autoliv senior research project on airbag devices.

Sports Enthusiast: Braden is a member of the swim team at Bonneville High School.

Study Habits: Braden received a composite score of 31 on the ACT. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA he participates on the schools swim team. His past experience in many Advanced Placement courses in chemistry, calculus and English literature have given Braden an insight into hard work and meeting deadlines.

“Achieving Bonneville High’s nomination as their Mathematics Sterling Scholar Award winner for the academic year 2012-2013 is proof of his diligence and dedication to completing a very difficult pathway, and one that can assist his studies in engineering in the future,” says Glenn Prisk, CTE Coordinator over the Project Lead the Way Program.

Soft Skills: “Braden is personable, a great team leader, self-assured (not arrogant but confident) and just a great asset to have in class,” says his PLTW instructors.

Future: Braden has the technical understanding for a career in a wide-range of engineering fields. He has investigated digital electronics, engineering design, computer driven manufacturing systems, and drafting software in Inventor programs. He has accepted a scholarship to Utah State University.

Testimonial: “Reflecting back on my personal changes that came as a result of schooling, I used to try to hasten the result, finding the quickest way to solve issues. I found that with my involvement in PLTW, and even other AP courses that I have taken, the method I take now has distinctly changed in regards to problems, research, and concepts taught in classes that I experience. I am much more detailed. I look for situations of cause and effect, and I would admit that I am much more detailed about my work. My thought processes have changed. With academics playing such a big role in my life, and now with swimming,  I find that it is a balancing act and I must prioritize my time and studies. I am very goal oriented and I am excited about the opportunities and options I have living in Utah. Things are good for me!”


Meet Ethan Leeds: Future Nuclear Engineer

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

ETHAN I. LEEDS, senior at Weber High School in Weber School District.

CTE Pathway: Ethan is currently enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-Engineering Program. He has participated in this pathway of pre-engineering studies for the past four years, taking five of the seven courses available.

Senior Project: Ethan completed the senior research project for Autoliv on airbag devices.

Sports Enthusiast: Ethan is an avid runner who views his efforts in this lifetime sport as a challenge to understanding the limits on his own personal growth.

Study Habits: Ethan is an outstanding student who attacks his studies in much the same manner as he attacks running. He has proven it with his 3.99 GPA and with an outstanding score of 35 on the math comprehension part of the ACT. These academic achievements have given Ethan the confidence to strive for a career in engineering.

Soft Skills: Ethan is self-driven, polite, confident, and a very detailed worker. He likes and looks forward to a challenge. His classmates and teachers all describe Ethan as “a joy to work.”

Future: Ethan has submitted his candidacy for the NAVAL ROTC scholarship program. Selections will be made in April 2013.

Testimonial: “My involvement in PLTW has really clarified my educational pursuits. Coming into the program, like most kids, I had no plan for a career or a pathway of study to guide me. Being involved allowed me first to become aware of options, and secondly to identify classes and subjects that I should be familiar with in order to pursue those subjects I enjoy. Obviously, my dream is now at hand, with the NAVAL ROTC Contract of Commitment signed, and my placement within the nuclear engineering field of study I have found the field of engineering that I most likely will complete. Working with class mentors associated with Autoliv, teachers, and businesses has allowed me to develop a conversation about the education and training involved that I must master in order to reach my goals. I have the brightest future possible due to my schooling and PLTW!”