THS students take part in ‘The Great Wiffle Ball Challenge’ as part of engineering curriculum
For the Tomahawk Leader
TOMAHAWK – Tomahawk High School Principles of Engineering students recently completed a project that encouraged friendly competition while testing their know-how in numerous areas of engineering.
“The Great Wiffle Ball Challenge” required students to use skills and knowledge of simple machines, electricity, electronics, mechanical advantage, gear ratios, construction techniques, and programming to design, construct, program, and test a machine that would move Wiffle balls over a wall faster than their opponent’s machine, explained Technology Education teacher Andy Peissig.
Gavyn Palmer and Hudson Mattke emerged as the 2021 champions of the challenge, which was a lesson in just one of numerous engineering-focused courses offered by the School District of Tomahawk.
“Principles of Engineering, along with Introduction to Engineering Design, Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Digital Electronics are all Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses available to Tomahawk students,” Peissig stated. “PLTW is an engineering initiative by private sponsors to increase the awareness of what engineers do. To increase the awareness, PLTW has developed funds to help school districts provide engineering courses to their students with no implementation costs to the district.”
Peissig said the district has applied for and received over $35,000 to buy equipment for students to learn about engineering.
“These courses serve as a great foundation to manufacturing and other related technical careers as well,” he added. “Along with funds, PLTW has provided a well-developed curriculum to ensure that students are learning the concepts and skills that are aligned with the principles developed in post-secondary education. These courses provide a rigorous curriculum at such a high level that students at Tomahawk can earn college credit for these courses when they score high enough on the end of course exam.”
Peissig said the Milwaukee School of Engineering values these courses in such high regard that it reduces tuition for students enrolled in any of the courses by $3,000 per year.
“Tomahawk has had several students take advantage of this reduced tuition,” he stated, noting that as many as ten students in a year have pursued careers in engineering since the implementation of PLTW in 2010.
“This curriculum and funding has provided the much needed encouragement to get students into the high demand field of engineering,” Peissig said.
To view a video of The Great Wiffle Ball Challenge, visit the School District of Tomahawk’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TomahawkSchools/.