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Electricity Swirling Around MCHS Industrial Arts Classes

Project Based Learning Approach Focuses on Skill Development

In case you haven't heard, things are changing in the MCHS Industrial Arts Shop.  There's a new instructor, Mr. Sargent, that has been leading the class for the past couple of months, and the changes are already noticeable.  For one, the cleanliness of the shop is significantly improved.  "Mr. Sargent has really taken the effort to improve the cleanliness of the space; it's become a safer, cleaner, and an overall better learning environment for our kids," noted Mr. Graham, the MCHS Principal.  Tools are sorted and departmentalized, which has improved the flow of classroom lessons.  It looks like a brighter and more exciting place, and that only helps the students to be excited and engaged in the lessons.

Project Based Learning

First, it was welding.  "We went out to a couple of local places to see and learn about how welding is happening in the real world, and got to speak with welders out in the field actually doing the work," said Mr. Graham.  "The kids came back in and there was a new energy; they wanted to get after it here in the Shop and work on some of the welds they had seen, and try some new things, and for us, that was exciting to see.  Our kids were engaged, and now they are enjoying the work, partially because they see the real-life application piece; they understand why the lesson is important, and they want to create, and think, and work on a skill.  For us, this is teaching and learning; we're on to something here." 

Then there is the mini-unit on electricity.  While walking through the shop, it's easy to see that learning is taking place.  In the middle of the shop sits a simulated wall frame, with a mounted circuit breaker box, and conduit running throught the frame.  "The plan is to continue to run the conduit through here, install a box here, and then to run it up and install another box," said Sargent.  "The idea here is that they leave and actually have some practical skill that they can use either on their own house someday, or, on the job."

Continuing Ed Opportunity

Since the classes are for students of all grades,  the Industrial Arts students could take the skills they are learning at MCHS and bring them to the Kankakee Area Career Center, to increase the depth and understanding of what's being taught at the high school.

For now, the work continues in the Shop, we can't wait to see what happens next.

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