Engineers work with students

LORDSTOWN – Engineers with General Motors are working with fourth- and fifth-graders at Lordstown Elementary School to help encourage interest in science and technology.

While fourth-graders are making skimmers, fifth-graders are making jet toys.

The program builds bridges between corporations and classrooms by giving teachers, volunteers and students the opportunity to work together and learn from each other.

Wendal Shaw, a senior GM electrical engineer, said he and nine other engineers are taking part in the “World in Motion” program which encourages students to use their math, science and engineering skills.

Shaw said there is a desire to foster students’ interest in science and engineering.

“This program is one way to introduce children to those fields,” Shaw said.

As part of the joint effort the engineers spend six sessions over three weeks at the school with the children making and testing the skimmers. Then the students visit the GM plant to see the engineers at work.

Next week the fifth-graders will tour the General Motors Assembly Plant and the fourth-graders the Fabricating Plant.

Shaw said the sessions include going over the directions and steps to design the skimmer.

McKenna Logo, 10, said it was fun building the skimmer and then practicing trying to get it to move using a small fan.

The skimmer moves when a fan blows wind against the sail.

”Testing the skimmer was the funnest part,” she said.

Nicholas Allen, 10, said it was fun to build the skimmer using different pieces.

“The hardest part was trying to get it to go straight,” Allen said.

Teachers Dawn Cameron and Dawn Toporcer said the students were using what they have learned in math and science.

On the final visit by the engineers, the students did a presentation.

The teachers said the program allows for a sense of community in Lordstown since many of the engineers work and live in the community.

”This is a good venture for the students and the workers. We hope to play a role in motivating students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math,” he said.