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Teachers Teaching Teachers

Pam Lechner

As we all know, much learning over the past 15-16 months has been done in the virtual realm. Lectures translate fairly easily into virtual, but what about the hands-on process of learning and doing metal pours?

During the summer of 2020, several ASM Materials Camps for teachers (and students) were held virtually to keep the learning process moving forward. And that process continues this summer. 

The Foundry Educational Foundation teamed up with the ASM Materials Education Foundation and the Keough Family Foundation to provide foundry-in-a-bucket kits to all the teachers who participated in the 2020 and 2021 ASM Advanced Materials Camp for Teachers that would have been held in Ann Arbor. Each participant was mailed a bucket so that on the Zoom Wednesday of camp, they could pull out the supplies and join the instructors for a casting activity. These foundry-in-a-buckets were designed by Kent State and put together by FEF students working at Joyworks in Michigan.

Many of the participating teachers have access to 3D printers, so they were very excited about being able to print patterns and do a real engineering activity with their students. 

“I am so glad to be able to learn how to take the properties of the materials we are using and to integrate them into my regular chemistry and physical science classes,” said Denise O’Brien of Valdez, Alaska. “I appreciate that the things that we can do are simple and relatively inexpensive.”

Kathy Hayrynen (FEF alum from Michigan Tech and incoming board member for the ASM Materials Education Foundation) said of the camps: “They give middle school and high school teachers an opportunity to learn how to make science fun with hands on activities for their students. Teachers are the frontline contact with our next generation of engineers and scientists. One engaged teacher can have a huge impact on the future of many students over many years.”

FEF has learned over the years that it is important to reach students at a younger age so they are familiar with the opportunities in and basics of metalcasting BEFORE they enter college. Many have already started on their vocational path by the time they reach college-age.

“I remain involved with the camps because I want to help build that enthusiasm and love of science for the next generation,” Hayrynen said.