Students Take Engineering Mathematics

Where the kids run the show

Tori Jozwiak and Maggie Wittmann

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Imagine a classroom where the students are in charge of their own learning, and the teacher simply observes the class.

Carmel’s own John Titterton teaches just such a class. The engineering and math teacher believes that he is just the adult in the room. It’s the students who are really creating the learning.

“I give them the requirements, set up the programs, and send them off.” Titterton said.

STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. Though it is a new class to Carmel, STEM is a nationwide program that aims to strengthen and improve the place of the United States as a leader in the global marketplace.

During every class, students are faced with tough, but accomplishable tasks and are then told to figure them out. They record their progress in their engineer’s journal.

From sketching staplers and coffee mugs, to using 3D Computer Aided Design, ideas flows through their minds onto their pages. The students begin to think like engineers.

“The journal is used to keep track of everything we’ve done in that day,” sophomore Emilia Puszynski said. “We’ll have presentation notes and little activities that we’ve done and then we’ll sketch and write about it.”

Most students are used to classroom settings where the teacher tells them what to do, when to do it and how to present what they’ve learned. That’s not what happens in Room 502.

“A lot of students come to me during a project and ask what I think they should do; I just kind of shrug my shoulders and tell them to do what they think,” Titterton said. “It teaches a more independent learning structure.”

Even with the challenging assignments that the students face, Titterton believes that this class is accessible to all levels of science and math. Right now it is one of Carmel’s new electives, but Titterton said he would like to expand the class to include all levels and class grades.

“Right now, it’s exclusively sophomores, but two seniors snuck in,” said Titterton. “This summer though, we’ll try and offer this class so kids with tight schedules can do this for fun.”

Or, like some students do, to test out engineering as a profession.

“The goal of the class is to give students a better understanding of the field of engineering,” senior Kevin Coda said. “And an idea of what the process is for their potential future careers as engineers,”

Whatever reason made them take the course, it’s gotten some rave reviews.

“I went in with an open mind,” Puszynski said. “And it’s now my favorite class,”