As the first two months of school are wrapping up, students are becoming immersed in their science and technology related elective classes. Although there is a wide variety of classes to choose from, some students are struggling to find the classes that match their interests.
Senior James Mitchell transferred into RAHS during his sophomore year in order to fulfill his need for science and technology in the classroom that he was unable to get at his previous school.
“At Aviation, my thirst for STEM was finally quenched,” said Mitchell. “This year I am taking three technology electives [Flight by Design, Engineering Design, and Computer Science], another two science classes [Chemistry and Physics 2] and a math class. So yeah, I am feeling pretty good about STEM electives.”
Recommendations from upperclassmen to underclassmen for fulfilling their science and technology needs are to take full class loads, filling their schedules with anything that sounds vaguely interesting.
“Take Flight by Design. It’s a lot of fun and you will get a lot out of it,” said Mitchell. “Engineering Design [CAD] is a lot of actual fun. It is a great class to go into with a little knowledge and a desire for interesting and cheap projects.”
Engineering Design teacher Michael Gudor tries his best to integrate science and technology into his classes.
“There are some classes that are easier to integrate technology,” said Gudor. “Some classes, like CAD, are easier [to integrate technology]. CAD is all done on technology, and anything that is produced in CAD is really easy to integrate.”
Finding a balance between technology and content is sometimes a struggle, but teachers understand the added learning that comes from using some technology.
“There always needs to be a balance,” said Gudor. “I would never teach math only on a calculator.”
Most teachers understand that their students learn best when the students are pursuing their own needs, which is why electives teachers, such as Mr. Gudor, try and make their classes as flexible as possible while still meeting the requirements.
“The student’s voice is a lot better at bringing in tech,” said Gudor. “If a student said ‘I can design this in Inventor or Sketch Up,’ I’ll say yes. I will work with the student to meet their needs. Even in geometry, we use Sketch Pad, and students seem to really like that. There is a balance between tech and no tech. The different skills are useful for the students to have.”
Different electives have different availability for integrating science and technology, which can make it difficult for students to have their science and technology needs satisfied, especially considering the classes each student must take. Students and teachers need to meet halfway to figure out how to properly incorporate technology into the classroom.
“First find possible ways it [technology] could be incorporated in the given class,” said Gudor, “then approach the teacher with a solution as to how they can solve the problem with technology.”
There is a lot of opportunity for each student to fulfill their own needs; however, students must remember that class size puts a huge limit on their ability to get the classes they actually want.
“Many people will be applying for the class, and whether I will actually be able to take the class is a huge factor, since electives, especially STEM, fill up really fast,” said Mitchell.