Normally when you think of engineering and technology education you think of college students but at Mint Canyon Community School it means something a little different.
The Sulpher Springs District implemented the Junior Engineering and Technology Program, or J.E.T., last fall which uses project based learning to educate students in kindergarten through second grade.
Students use real-life examples for each project they are faced with, last week it was building the proper type of bridge over the wash in front of the school to connect Mint Canyon’s parking lot with Sierra Highway.
“This week the kids had to solve the problem of the hill behind our building that is eroding,” said Tess Toledo, teacher at Mint Canyon Community School. “They made a sample hillside and had to build some kind of a retaining wall or whatever they wanted to build to prevent erosion.”
Mrs. Toledo also created QR codes for the students to use with Ipads to read. The codes take them directly to the websites they need in order to save time.
“I created the QR codes because I have such limited time with the kids,” said teacher Tess Toledo. “With little ones it takes a long time to type out an entire web address, with the QR code and the QR app the kids can just click on it and it takes you directly to the website where you can directly click on links and get their information.”
The program also encourages teamwork, reading and forms of technology like coding along with math and science.
After learning about each project class members are called to the front of the class to explain their findings and what conclusions they came to.
“It is unique because it integrates all of the content areas including math, geography and it can be done throughout the day not just for the time that they are in the classroom,” said Toledo.
Educating young students in math and science will introduce them to a career path that will be in engineering, science and technology.
Mrs. Toledo and fellow staff members already report they are seeing an improvement in vocabulary skills and more awareness and curiosity for the world around them.
“I am amazed and proud of the scientific vocabulary that they are coming away with,” said Principal of Mint Canyon Community School Roni Andrus. “This is a great preparation for their futures and it motivates them.”