Mabel-Canton teacher shares student
engineering talents with school board
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 6:21 AM
The Mabel-Canton School Board heard a presentation from industrial technology teacher Paul Tollefsrud regarding the eighth grade pre-engineering class structures unit during its regular meeting last Tuesday evening.
Eighth grader Yasmin Scrabeck shows off her completed bridge model she designed in Paul Tollefsrud’s pre-engineering class. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Tollefsrud explained, in the structures unit, students have the opportunity to learn about bridge construction and even design and build models of their own bridge.
"Basically, what we talk about is how bridges affect their life, how we get to school, how would you get to work if you did not have bridges?" Tollefsrud said.
Students spend time researching various bridges and then are formed into groups that are essentially "companies" that are hired to design and build a new bridge.
"They have $1.5 million to complete their so-called bridge - and there are land codes, bridge codes that they need to follow as they go through the projects...they basically build a railroad bridge," he added.
The class and its process gives students an experience in financing a project - as they are also required to keep track of their expenses for materials, a checkbook, check balance and an audit sheet.
They also build a model version of their bridge and then test it in the classroom to see how much weight the bridge can hold.
"In a school this size, particularly, you don't see that pre-engineering coming into play," said Superintendent Jennifer Backer. "Paul has done, honestly, a fantastic job especially at a young age - our middle school kids' age - so they (the students) can start figuring out what they want to do when they get older."
Tollefsrud also ran a short video for the board that showed students testing their bridge models.