Conexus Champion Andrew Wilkins Featured on WISH-TV

Updated: Monday, 29 Oct 2012, 8:50 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 26 Oct 2012, 9:48 AM EDT

(Full Article Click Here)

Lauren Lowrey

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – Sectional Semi-Finals are tonight in high school football as the WISH TV Sports Team covers 17 games – including our Zone Game of the Week at Noblesville High School. The Millers take on the Mavericks of McCutcheon High School in Lafayette. Each week on Daybreak, our morning team highlights off-the-field news at the host school. This week, we focus on the Aerospace Engineering class at Noblesville High.

On a practice field outside the high school, students in the Aerospace Engineering class gather near their teacher, Andrew Wilkins.

"The wind is coming from the South/Southwest,” says Wilkins, “So we're gonna go toward the back corner of that practice field."

Each of the 26 students in class was tasked with building a small rocket from a kit. Then, they split into groups to prepare for the multiple rocket launches of the day.

“Here are our stations,” says Wilkins, pointing to a diagram. “We’ll have three tracker teams, we’re going to have a launch site in the middle, and each team needs to be about 150 feet away.”

The students are part of a pre-engineering program at Noblesville H.S. called Project Lead The Way (PLTW). It’s the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math education offers a rigorous curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science classes to real-life engineering and technology projects. More than 4,200 schools in America offer the program.

Since its first offering in 2007, the Noblesville program has expanded to include Civil Engineering and Architecture, Introduction to Engineering, and Principles of Engineering. The course in Aerospace Engineering was added to the curriculum for the 2010-11 school year.

“This is an incredible program for our students and it gives them a chance to get outside of their typical general education classes and allows them that chance to take everything they've learned and apply it in a real-world sort of way,” says Wilkins.

The application is helpful for students like Isabelle Dittmar.

"I want to be an engineer and I'm not sure in what field I want to be in,” says Dittmar. “I thought this class would help me figure out what field I specifically want to be in."

The classes, as well as the entire PLTW program, helps students on their path to becoming professionals in the field. It provides an opportunity for students to apply for college credit at PLTW affiliate Universities for selected PLTW courses. PLTW has more than 35 affiliate college and university partners including Ivy Tech, Purdue, Vincennes, and others.

For students like Kyle Thieman, these courses have changed his future goals.

"Engineering wasn't really one of my goals,” says Thieman. “But I'm finding out it's pretty sweet and I may change my major in college."