We are very fortunate to have Ms. Jo-Ann Panzardi, Engineering Department Chair and Instructor for Cabrillo College, who is assisting us in implementing an exciting and engaging Engineering Club at New Brighton Middle School.
Ms. Panzardi, with at least eight of her students from the engineering department at Cabrillo College, are helping to generate an Engineering Club on Friday afternoons at New Brighton that embraces mathematics and engineering projects. The enthusiasm and excitement of this club is exactly the perfect preparation for our students to engage in academic rigor and relevance.
Our students are flocking to participate in the afternoon engineering task of the week. Nearly 50 students come after school to test their creative skills in building an engineering project for two hours.
We are extremely grateful that Ms. Panzardi has joined our efforts in crafting an environment where higher level thinking skills are required and opportunities are provided for a team approach in building successful projects. One of our major goals for the schools in our district, New Brighton Middle School, Soquel Elementary School, Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary School and Main Street School, is to provide project base learning opportunities for our students that will prepare them for the 21st Century.
As students gather for their afternoon engineering project, they are given an overview of their task for the day from the volunteer engineering students at Cabrillo College. Cabrillo College established their engineering program in 1960 and has been extremely successful in preparing their students for job pathways in engineering and encouraging them to continue their engineering training at the next formal educational level.
Giving young adults the chance to engage in hands-on projects to increase their knowledge of engineering skills has proven to be the winning formula at Cabrillo College. Students are provided the opportunity to embrace learning projects in other countries during their studies at Cabrillo. In addition, Cabrillo College’s Engineering Department provides summer enrichment programs. These programs are available for college students, high school students and middle school students.
One of the major benefits of the Engineering Club at New Brighton Middle School is providing various opportunities where students can apply their interest in activities that incorporate math and engineering concepts simultaneously. Our students become “wowed” by their discovery that math plays a critical component in the creation of a project.
The Engineering Club gives our students the challenge to build a project and to test their hypothesis in creating different designs to meet the project goals. It is wonderful to observe the creative minds of our students and their ability to build various projects that are unique in their ability to work collaboratively.
The Engineering Club has become so successful that we are exploring options to embrace a creative “out of the box” thinking curriculum options where the Engineer Club could become a regular elective class for New Brighton students in the very near future.
The relationship with Ms. Panzardi and her students provides an exceptional learning environment that has endless potential for academic rigor and relevance.
A special thank you goes out to Principal Craig Broadhurst and science teacher Ms. Molly Deich for creating a learning environment that embraces partnerships with our local colleges. The engagement and excitement of learning that occurs with our students and Cabrillo College engineering students is invaluable.