Engineering classes building at MHS

Engineering classes at Marshalltown High School may lead some of the students into the field professionally, but teacher Mike Lazere said even those who don’t go into the field are learning valuable lessons in the classes.

Lazere feels the more than 100 students involved in the new courses are learning problem solving skills that will help them in their future. Lazere is the teacher of the new introduction to engineering and principles of engineering courses at MHS as part of Project Lead the Way.

“There are aspects of engineering and design that are useful,” Lazere said. “The teamwork and creative problem solving are useful in many professions.”

Lazere has previous experience with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative in the state. One of the goals of STEM is to fill gaps in fields that are growing and need employees.

“There’s no doubt that the area of need in Iowa and many places is in middle and high skilled jobs,” Lazere said. “This kind of program gives kids an introduction into that and they may go into a career where jobs are needed. I think this presents some really good opportunities for kids.”

Sophomore Cole Keeler was working on building a tower from sticks of spaghetti in the introduction in engineering class Wednesday. He said he may look into engineering as a career field and feels PLTW is good for MHS.

“I think it’s pretty cool and good for the community,” Keeler said.

Later this fall, the classes are expected to move into a newly-renovated lab built for the project in the basement at MHS. The future also could mean expansion into higher level classes for students who are interested in taking the program to the next level.

“For kids that are really serious about engineering we will start to offer more courses,” Lazere said.