Through a State of Alaska grant, Nikiski Middle-High School received a Checkmate King CNC Laser. The “King,” as the students call the CNC Laser, has made quite an impact both in quality projects and the understanding of dimensional geometry. NMHS CTE teachers Paul Johnson and Vern Kornstad have challenged both themselves and their students to master the fundamentals of this new technology. They are challenged to understand the maintenance, functions, media, and how exportation in CorelDraw has had to change from previous machines. Should you visit the class you will hear excited and eager students anticipating their projects and troubleshooting to make them even better! Each moment is excitement in hands-on learning, applied math, computer technology, and employability skills.
The class is partnering with the Soldotna, Alaska, business Threeguysnowood.com. The task the partnership developed was to create a small inexpensive project that tourists could purchase at the business. The winning project would be class produced, marketed and sold this summer through the business with all proceeds returned to the CAD/CAM program at NMHS. Students brought their creativity and understanding of computer program tools, CorelDraw, geometry and measurements to create and execute product ideas. The class voted on the computer assisted drawings and discussed marketing potential. The samples below are some of the CorelDraw ideas that students created. Each color of a line tells the CNC Laser where to cut, how deep to cut, and where to burn on the student designs. Each component is a layover of a layover, so the students must be aware of each line, close each line, and what that line will be doing when exported to the King.
The selected design from each class was then exported to the CNC Laser. There were some exciting moments when the computer assisted drawings did not turn out exactly as anticipated. As a class, a team in the real-world, they assisted each other in correcting the pathways needed to cut out the prototype(s).
Tami Murray, Executive Director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, worked with the business to assist in choosing the most marketable item. After careful consideration the Alaskan puzzle was designated to be produced.
From that discussion, the instructors further discussed with the students the factors of: packaging, cost of items, and overall marketability. One of the unforeseen and most exciting results of this grant funding is that all chosen student projects will be produced and sold at Threeguysnowood.com this summer with 100% of those proceeds returning to the CAD/CAM program. In a sense every class then has a stake in sales, and every class is a winner.
The State of Alaska CTE 2015 grant has made an enormous impact on students already. The grant has provided a vehicle in which to foster student learning and to bring resources back into the CTE program. Students are challenged in an integrated cross-content project emphasizing applied math, computers, marketing, and fostering employability skills. This has truly been a success!
Thank you to Paul Johnson and Vern Kornstad, Nikiski Middle High School for this story.