Miller in middle of science future

When it comes to Project Lead the Way and science learning in Marshalltown, the high school might have spiffy new labs, but the middle school has an extra year of experience on its big brother.

Miller Middle School is in the second year of its Project Lead the Way effort – which has students taking on higher level science projects.

Miller teacher Jack Schulte leads a design and modeling class where students can work on 3D projects on the computer with software used by engineers.

“If they went to any kind of engineering job, this is the standard that is used right now,” Schulte said.

Schulte said this class is a stepping stone course for engineering courses at the high school.

Eighth grader Tyler Reeder said he would like to be a mechanical engineer, so this work is right up his alley.

“I think it’s fun,” Reeder said. “I like doing the 3D modeling.”

Schulte said the students learn how to take any idea from scratch and put it into action.

For seventh graders at Miller, teacher Jeana Clough instructs the Project Lead the Way class.

Last week, the class was building mechanisms such as rack and pinion.

“It’s all hands-on and putting things together and making the mechanisms works,” Clough said. “Later, we’ll build windmills and all terrain vehicles using these mechanisms.”

Clough said much of the learning is by trial and error.

“One of the big lessons they learn is to be patient,” Clough said. “Sometimes they have to go back if it doesn’t work and they have to try again.”

Clough said this opens the door to careers students might not have thought about previously.

“This opens their eyes to different types of learning,” Clough said.