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Archive for the ‘Technology and Engineering Education’ Category

Engineering Students Are Awesome!

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

By Holly Barker, Technology and Engineering teacher at Two Rivers High School

Project Lead the Way pre-engineering classes provide students the opportunity to find out what is involved in various engineering fields, to learn and use the design process, and to apply mathematics used by engineers to solve problems. Students who take these classes greatly enhance their abilities to apply mathematics, to work in teams, to create and test their designs, to research, and to report results in both written and verbal formats. They learn the skills they will use to succeed in industry. Former students of mine, who have gone on to work toward their BS degrees in various engineering fields, have found that classes at the college or university level are easy for them. They know how to proceed with taking a project from inception to completion. Our students who have recently graduated have:

  • Become student leaders in their respective universities.
  • Designed products that are patentable.
  • Become so adept at accurate and thorough documentation that their professors comment repeatedly about their abilities.
  • Amaze our business partners with the skills they have developed.
  • Become highly sought-after employees by companies with whom they have served internships.

Not enough can be said about how awesome these students are! Yes, it’s hard. And yes, it is SO worth it to stay the course! No one who has returned to visit with me has ever had anything but positive things to say about their high school engineering experience.

Technology and Engineering Education: Hands-on, Minds-on Education

Two Rivers High School: A Leader in STEM Education

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Two Rivers High School, in Weber School District, was recently named a “Model School” for their leadership in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, for the 2010-2011 school year, by Project Lead the Way (PLTW). They were one of 16 schools nationwide to be recognized with this award and were the only school selected in Utah. “We are excited to recognize these schools for their exemplary work with students on a daily basis,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. Two Rivers High School is the only school in Utah who has been recognized for their innovation and excellence with this award. (Read the press release here.)

Project Lead the Way is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs nationwide. PLTW pre-engineering classes provide students the opportunity to find out what is involved in various engineering fields, to learn and use the design process, and to apply mathematics used by engineers to solve problems.

To qualify for such a prestigious award schools are nominated by individuals in the PLTW Network. PLTW then sends each nominee an application asking for detailed information about multiple aspects of the schools PLTW program. Schools are awarded points demonstrating key elements of the quality indicators as outlined by PLTW. Schools are judged by 37 performance indicators within five quality indicator categories— program implementation, postsecondary relationships, communications and outreach, professional development and student engagement. Model schools are then evaluated by select PLTW State Leaders and Affiliate Directors.

The Project Lead the Way assessment scores at Two Rivers High School are consistently the highest in the state. Four courses had a 100 percent pass rate with the other two courses scoring 96 and 98 percent. This is a tribute to the dedication of teachers and quality of instruction at Two Rivers High School.

The engineering program at Two Rivers High School is now in its eighth year. The program began in 2004 with two teachers offering two courses to 134 students. Now the program has five teachers, with multiple PLTW certifications, offering seven courses to 386 students—grades 9-12.

The programs 13-member advisory committee has partnered to develop a true work-based mentoring program consisting of guest speakers, field trips, job shadowing, and five-month senior internship opportunities. Companies have also offered summer employment and scholarships for engineering students. Engineers from local companies volunteer as consultants for the Engineering Design and Development course. These industry-engineers motivate students, listen to presentations, and judge the capstone engineering projects. Many of the senior engineering projects have been real engineering challenges associated with the needs of local companies.

The Two Rivers High School Engineering program has also received the following awards and recognitions during the past several years.

  • Utah Technology and Engineering Program of the Year 2010-11
  • Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce Education Partners in Education Award 2009 and 2010
  • SME Foundation Grant 2006-07

“The Engineering program at Two Rivers High School is unique in its recruitment, student retention, depth of curriculum offerings, year-end assessment scores, collaboration with industry partners, internship program, university linkage, and frugal development. However, the heart of this outstanding STEM program is the instructors. They are totally invested, excited about their curriculum, and committed to student success,” said Darrell Andelin, Technology and Engineering Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education.

Utah CTE gives a BIG shout-out to the following educators for their dedication to students and making the engineering program at Two Rivers High School a huge success.

Dale Pfister, CTE Director
Reed Newey, former CTE Director
Glenn Prisk, CTE Coordinator
Holly Barker, Technology and Engineering teacher
Christopher Davidson, Technology and Engineering teacher
Jerry Nelson, Technology and Engineering teacher
Kevin Waters, Technology and Engineering teacher
John Donley, Technology and Engineering teacher

Utah’s Wind Energy

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Students from Milford High School, Milford, Utah


Have you noticed the wind farms going up in Utah? There are two windmills at Camp Williams, nine in Spanish Fork Canyon, and 97 in phase one of the Milford Corridor Project. The Milford Wind Farm is rated at 204 megawatts and has the capacity to generate clean, renewable energy to power 45,000 homes per year. The nine windmills in Spanish Fork Canyon can produce 74 percent of the electrical needs in Spanish Fork. Wind will definitely be a part of the energy future in Utah.


There is “power in the wind,” says Andy Swapp, Technology and Engineering Teacher at Milford High School. Watch how Andy Swapp and his students brought wind power to Milford, Utah.


Facts about Wind Energy:

  • In 2010, 1.1 percent of Utah’s power was provided by wind.
  • In Utah, wind farms power 50,000 homes.
  • Through 2009, the wind power installed in Utah avoided 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
  • In 2009, wind energy made up 1.8 percent of U.S. power generation.
  • Wind power accounts for about 50 percent of renewable energy.
  • Renewable energy is wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal power, energy from biomass, and wood or wood-derived products.
  • Currently, wind energy capacity in the U.S. is over 35,000 megawatts, compared to 3,000 megawatts in the year 2000.
  • 35,000 megawatts is enough electricity to power approximately 9.7 million homes.

Wind energy is creating new career opportunities in construction, manufacturing, maintenance, engineering, and business development. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) an estimated 85,000 Americans are employed in the wind power industry and its related fields.

Is a wind energy career in your future? Learn about the following occupations in wind energy:

                             > Energy Auditor                    > Wind Energy Engineer

                             > Energy Engineer                  > Wind Energy Operations Manager

                             > Electrician                           > Wind Energy Project Manager

                             > Mechanical Engineer            > Wind Turbine Service Technician


For more information about careers in wind energy, talk to your school counselor and get started in the Career and Technical Education Technology and Engineering Pathway today.