Chatham Charter School third grade students spent Friday, February 3 at RJG’s North Carolina facility to practice math in the real world and learn how it is used in a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.
Mary Key, third grade teacher at Chatham Charter School, collaborated with Marty Key, Consultant/Trainer at RJG, to organize this day trip for the students. They worked with four local companies to create fictitious needs for plastic injection molded parts. Students spent the day using math and critical thinking skills to determine what to plug into the injection molding machine to successfully create the parts.
Advisors worked alongside the students throughout the day, talking with them about their careers and assisting them with finding solutions to their math problems. At the end of the day, the students’ solutions were “typed” into injection molding machines to determine if they worked to get the machines running.
“I accomplished more as a teacher on this single day than I would in a whole year because these kids were determined to solve their problems,” said Mary Key. “The students’ math skills are leaps and bounds ahead because they had this real world experience.”
"I like the idea of making things out of plastics and wearing the goggles,” said Kaitlyn, one of the students. “I think I can help people by making things with plastic, and I really liked it when we got the machines started."
The field trip has led to a significant increase in STEM interest throughout the school. Since then, 25 more students have expressed interest in attending a class in the future, and four female students have decided to pursue careers in engineering. Due to the overwhelming response, RJG and Chatham Charter School are discussing the possibility of continuing to offer these classes in the future.
About Chatham Charter School:
Chatham Charter School is a K-12 public charter school that focuses on college readiness and prepares students to be life-long learners and productive citizens.