Congratualtions to Jonathan Schwartz and Colfax High School students who have won a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant in the amount of $7,500 to create the Tri-Metric, a construction layout tool that can be used when building emergency housing to increase structural integrity. Colfax High School is one of 16 high schools nationwide to be selected as an InvenTeam this year.
Schwartz is active in the Sierra STEM Collaborative and the Sierra College CACT has supported improvements to the Colfax design, engineering and product development Career Technical Education program through grants.
The Colfax students will invent a Tri-Metric tool that can be used when building emergency housing. The goal is to make it easier to lay-out a house. It would allow novice builders to make sure the floor, walls and roof are all square, maximizing support to make the home sturdy. The students hope to design the mechanical device so it can be manufactured for under $20. The idea is to build in all the complex math of trigonometry into the tool so it can be used by anyone.
Schwartz, himself an inventor, says that students will experience working on a team and applying critical thinking skills. “They will design, and repeatedly prototype, test, and rebuild the Tri-Metric construction tool over nine months. They will go through the same experience that inventors go through,” said Schwartz. “In June, the students will showcase a prototype of their invention at EurekaFest at MIT in Cambridge, MA.”
Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Director, Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT), Sierra College will mentor the team. “This project is an extension of the leadership Jonathan Schwartz and Colfax High School have demonstrated as participants in CACT’s Sierra STEM Collaborative,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “By applying their design, fabrication and math skills to solve a global problem, students, especially young women, will be inspired to consider technical careers.”
Entrepreneur and author Peter Sims, who wrote Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries and coauthored the best-seller True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership with Bill George will also mentor the team. A Colfax High School graduate, Sims has already met with students and inspired them with tales of how industry leaders innovate and produce new products.