Posts Tagged ‘applied math’

Free Math in Welding Webinar – May 22, 2014

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Bill & Katie prepare for math in welding On May 22 at 4 PM, PST you can learn how to “Ignite Your CTE Students’ Math Skills.” Sierra College instructors, Bill Wenzel, Welding and Katie Lucero, Mathematics will present a free webinar on infusing welding assignments with essential math skills.

Register for this free “Ignite Your CTE Students’ Math Skills”webinar.

Read more about the May 22 Math in Welding event.

Flyer on May 22 Ignite Your CTE Students’ Math Skills 

Link to IGNITE Math in Welding Report and 8 Lessons

After the event, the Sierra College Ignite Welding infused with Math webinar will be posted on YouTube:

Sierra College instructors will present eight turnkey activities and worksheets that they developed and used successfully in multiple welding classes to raise students’ math scores. The materials were created for the 2011-12 National Science Foundation (NSF) IGNITE (Infusing GeNed Into Technical Education) project, funded through a sub-grant from the University of West Virginia at Parkersburg.


Ski Resort Lifts Awareness of Applied Math for STEM Careers

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Northstar California Resort gave college faculty a behind the scenes tour of the lift maintence operations so they could gain applied math examples to use in their classrooms. The one day externship was funded by the Sierra College Science,
Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Collaborative.

“Teachers can use simple geometry to demonstrate calculating the angle of the chair suspended from the cable carrying it up the hill,” said Katie Lucero, Math Department Chair, Sierra College. “We saw how data was collected and logged daily; basic math computations were used to confirm that the system is running within safety parameters. A much more complicated series of equations would be used by engineers in the design process to determine the weight per chair for the lift system, with and without people, when it is stopped and when it is moving at maximum speed.”

Learn more at Rocklin and Roseville Today Faculty tour Northstar to Apply Math to Jobs.


NSF grant demonstrates how to teach applied math

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded a grant that enabled Sierra College to develop a model for teaching applied math while fabricating a catapult project called Tech-Explorer (  Findings showed that using hands-on projects, connected to authentic work situations, improves teaching of mathematics. Watch the Tech-Explorer movie on how Sierra College integrated math instruction with a catapult building project.  The Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) received NSF Advanced Technological Education grant #1003259 for $150,000.

A total of 306 students built catapults using mills, lathes, drills and other industrial tools. Then the students captured speed, distance, and height of a launched ball during a competition and used the data in a parabolic equation to determine the best launch angle. In addition, 32 teachers participated in three workshops on using hands-on math projects in the classroom.

According to the project principle investigator, Sandra Scott, integrating practical application into math classes and math into technical classes is imperative. “Students really responded when they realized that the parabolic curve is used in headlights, snowboards and solar collectors,” said Scott. “We need to show students how math is applied.”

The Sierra College Tech-Explorer catapult project has been adopted at College of the Canyons, College of the Sequoias, and San Bernardino Community College. The Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing’s Advanced Manufacturing in Tennessee used it at a camp for 8-9th graders. Nebraska’s Columbus Public Schools incorporated Tech-Explorer into SHINE, a NSF funded program.

Learn more about Sierra College NSF Tech-Explorer.


Math in Welding Addresses Skills Gap

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Sierra College ( welding students are better prepared for employment because the critical math skills sought by industry are being overtly integrated into class projects. Sierra College Welding Department chair, Bill Wenzel worked with Katie Lucero, chair of the Sierra College Math Department to develop new infused math in welding curriculum and test it in two classes. While welding classes have always included some math, incorporating math lessons tied directly to a student project significantly improved students’ math skills.

The Sierra College IGNITE (Infusing GeN-ed Into Technical Education) project was developed in partnership with the West Virginia University at Parkersburg (WVUP) and funded by the National Science Foundation, according to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director, Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT). (Read the Final Report: Sierra College IGNITE Final Report, Conducted Under the University of West Virginia at Parkersburg National Science Foundation ATE grant award #1003709)

Using the math competencies WVUP identified for infusion into welding, Sierra College faculty developed hands-on, applied math curriculum that related directly to welding projects. Students in Welding Technology 10 classes learned welding and technical skills as they fabricated a Hibachi Barbeque, according to Wenzel. “Classes were provided with drawings that showed measurements as fractions and decimals, step-by-step assembly directions and instruction on the use of shop equipment and hand tools,” said Wenzel. “For the experimental class, we designed weekly math lessons that covered critical math skills that applied directly to the construction of the barbeque.”

For example, students multiplied and divided fractions to determine how many lengths of a specified measurement could be cut from a rod. They calculated how much material would be used for the Hibachi handle and the grill. In another exercise, students designed two different grill patterns and calculated the amount of material needed and the cost to construct each design.

“The class that completed the hands-on math exercises performed significantly better than the control group on basic and pre-algebra skills based on pre- and post-tests,” said Wenzel. The infused math in welding curriculum was also tested in another class, Welding Technology 15, and again the students’ mathematics performance improved.

On a student survey, 52% of the students in the infused math WT-10 class had not enrolled in a math class at Sierra College but 82% said they would feel more comfortable taking a math class in the future as a result of the WT-10 class; and 48% would be more likely to take the math assessment for placement in a math class at Sierra College. So, math confidence improved too.

The Sierra College CACT provides customized training in shop math for Placer and Nevada County businesses. “Employers report that skilled employees can’t apply fractions, decimals and basic math to their work,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “Infusing math into welding shows great potential to address the skills gap before students go into the workforce.”

Colfax Record: Engineers in Training

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor, wrote Engineers in training at Colfax High on May 24 about the Weimar Hills students’ experience building Sierra College CACT Tech-Explorer catapults.

From the article: “Teachers and administrators hope a recent visit to Colfax High School will catapult Weimar Hills Elementary School students into technical careers. On May 15, the eighth-graders were introduced to design, engineering and manufacturing concepts at the Tech-Explorer event in the classroom of Jonathan Schwartz, Colfax High math and pre-engineering teacher. Students used lathes, mills and other power and hand tools to build and assemble catapults.

The event was made possible through a Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Collaborative Grant from Sierra College. The program not only introduces students to Colfax High, it also aims to make them aware of opportunities in high-paid local careers and education paths at Sierra College in mechatronics, engineering, welding, energy technology and drafting and engineering support.

Schwartz said the Weimar Hills students first worked on their math skills using the fraction contraption, a game Schwartz developed as a tool for learning math. Last week, the 60-plus students spent the day in Schwartz’s classroom building catapults out of aluminum and wood. ‘They used all sorts of shop tools from a mill to a metal lathe, they got a taste of the high school … and they got an introduction into pre-engineering,’ Schwartz said. …” Read more on the Colfax Record


Project Based Learning Conference in Napa this June

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

PBL World!, a Project Based Learning conference to be held June 18-22, 2012, will bring 400 teachers together to share ideas, listen to keynote speakers, and attend workshops and coaching sessions. Visit for more information.

Introduction to Project Based Learning

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) interviewed Telannia Norfar, a math teacher using Project Based Learning extensively. The interview focused on benefits, resistance, bridging subjects, and more that a teacher considering Project Based Learning should consider. Read the brief interview here. She also hosted a half hour webinar discussing the creation of Project Based Learning projects. Click here to watch the webinar.

Roseville Geometry & Construction builds in Math

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Roseville High School teachers, Tyson Maytanes (Geometry) and Jeff Bailey (Industrial Technology), are co-teaching Geometry and Construction in an applied mathematics course where students learn practical application of math while building a house. The program was featured in the Roseville Press Tribune on 2-15-2012, Roseville High School students learn math by building a house — Geometry in Construction class teaches math concepts applied in real world.

The Sierra College STEM Collaborative has provided support to this applied mathematics project.

Learn more at

Loomis News: Grant catapults Del Oro students

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Check out the 1/19/2012 issue of the Loomis News Grant catapults Del Oro students to see how Del Oro High School students are exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and benefiting from a partnership with the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT). The students built Tech-Explorer catapults in a hands-on learning experience that introduces product development careers.

Catapult Projectile Calculation

Monday, October 31st, 2011

For students building Sierra College Tech-Explorer catapults, you may find the following web sites useful in calculating the distance the ball will travel. Watch the movie showing how applied math has been integrated into the Tech-Explorer catapult project supported by Sierra College CACT, Sierra STEM Collaborative and the Sierra College National Science Foundation grant project.