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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Problem Solvers by Neal Starkman, T.H.E. Journal, 10/1/2007

US students continue to lag behind the rest of the world in the four core STEM subjects. The answer, many believe, is a practical approach to instruction: project-based

JEREMIE MEYER, AN INSTRUCTOR IN MECHANICAL engineering and manufacturing, has two rooms at Preble High School in Green Bay, WI. One is a typical classroom. The other, connected by a small door, is a shop, with lathes, drill presses, tubing benders, and other equipment. Meyer's students pick their own teams and then design their own cars, using 3-D mechanical design and building information modeling software from Autodesk. They also make presentations to companies for sponsorships. One of their latest vehicles is 11.5 feet long, 47 inches wide, and 2 feet tall; it uses street-legal golf-cart tires and runs on four 48-volt batteries. Recently, Meyer and his students showed the car at a Wisconsin Public Service stockholders meeting, and the company president took it for a spin—at about 35 mph.