Every year various Logan High School technology classes work together on an authentic engineering project throughout the year, and on Friday they demonstrated their latest piece of technology.
The project benefits students through hands-on experience working with engineering problems. An experience that helps them forge their path throughout high school, and beyond.
At the start of this school year Paige Treakle's academic interests centered, mainly, around math and science, "and this year really allowed me to dive into a different aspect of school that I've not really experienced," Logan High School Senior Paige Treakle discloses.
This year, Treakle and her classmates chose to create a desalination system for their year-long engineering project.
"A desalination system is something that converts saltwater to clean drinking water, it can be a very energy absorbent process to do that," Logan High School Technology and Engineering Teacher Steve Johnston describes.
Students build the project from the ground up only using teachers as a guide, regardless of what goes wrong. "They actually have to, based on design requirements, calculate out what parts that we need. If something goes, or it blows up, or it melts, then we have to kind of go back and rethink that and say, 'what did we do wrong, what was the problem,' and look at a different way to solve it," Johnston continues.
With no single right answer to problems that occur, the project provides an experience not often found in traditional classrooms.
"Sometimes you just get stuck and you have to think about something and just continue to think about it, and it takes a lot longer to solve than just going asking a teacher, 'how do I do this?'" Alex Magnuson, Logan High School Senior, elaborates.
Made possible by a $1,800 grant from the La Crosse Public Education Foundation, the project connects education to real-world application.
"It was really exciting to do something hands-on rather than just doing everything on worksheets where you don't really know if you'll enjoy it," Treakle says.
Getting away from worksheets and onto their feet lead Treakle to her career goal of going into computer science after school.
"So I am going to continue to have the science and math that I've always enjoyed while including technology," Treakle concludes.
Planning for next year's project will begin at the end of this summer. Students will show the desalination system at fairs and meetings throughout the year.