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STEM Is For Carpenters Too

Posted March 11, 2015 12:00 AM by BestInShow
Pathfinder Tags: snow removal STEM education

When we think of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, we most likely think of formal classes in a middle or high school or college. Do we think of the necessity for a carpenter to understand the mathematics and the physics of load-bearing walls? Or for an electrician to be able to read a standards manual and follow requirements correctly? Recently IHS East Greenbush engineers demonstrated that connection and shared their knowledge with an enthusiastic group of young adults.

On February 25th, several engineers hosted young men and women from the Troy, New York, YouthBuild program. As the program name implies, participants learn carpentry and other practical remodeling skills and use them to rehabilitate Habitat for Humanity houses. The engineering team offered two practical demonstrations related to house construction.

  • Do I need to shovel the snow off my house roof? This topic is of immediate concern in upstate New York. Students used the weight of a cubic foot of snow and the current building code specs for a roof's weight-bearing capacity to calculate the answer.
  • How is electric power distributed through a house? From this demo, students gained a basic understanding of an electrical circuit and the proper method for wiring an outlet or lighting fixture.

Both demos elicited lots of thoughtful questions and comments that ranged from technical to humorous - including general refusal not to climb up on a snowy roof under any circumstances.

An implicit goal of this IHS site visit was to introduce the YouthBuild participants to the range of career options open for STEM-educated workers. These young people are expected to earn their GED diplomas before completing the 8-month-long program. Some participants go on to the local community college (Hudson Valley Community College, HVCC). Two IHS engineers, who are also HVCC faculty, emphasized the growth in local demand for high-tech -trained employees and the range of HVCC programs available.

Was this program a success? The program's coordinator gives an emphatic yes:

"Seeing the questions that were asking during and after the presentation, and the discussions and feedback I received from them, showed it to be a very productive and, in many ways, eye-opening time for them and something they will carry with them for a long time."

The IHS East Greenbush Sustainability team organized this learning opportunity as part of IHS's corporate sustainability program. We're interested in hearing from the CR4 community whether you've had similar experiences, either as a planner or participant.

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#1

Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/11/2015 4:09 AM

NO!

"When we think of STEM education" We think of training climbing plants...

for pities sake...

EXPLAIN YOUR ACRONYMS

IT'S FUNDAMENTAL JOURNALISTIC GOOD PRACTICE!

GO AND SIT ON THE NAUGHTY STEP AND DON'T DO IT AGAIN...

"STEM" ? my arse

Del

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/11/2015 8:09 AM

Del, STEM is pretty well known in the USA... it's a phrase seen in the news more or less daily. It's kind of become a word of its own and I'm guessing our blogger didn't give it a second thought.

Stands for education in:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math
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#3

Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/11/2015 9:57 AM

I see it spelled out in the first line now...Oppologies all round... the perils of skim reading.

Or maybe I read from the bottom up...

I dunno, I'm just an ass sometimes.
I'll go hide in my secretest cat nest
Del (baaaaad kitty)
Kris made me do it

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/11/2015 10:00 AM

I added the spelled-out version after you pointed out that not everyone understands STEM. That was your good deed for the day . And no, your eyes aren't going.

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Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/11/2015 10:01 AM

LOL....

You tease! I'll set Kris onto you!

Del

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#6

Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/11/2015 2:38 PM

IMHO: Unless your ambitions go no further than asking "Do you want fries with that?", everybody should have a good grounding in STEM.

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#7

Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/12/2015 5:30 AM

Of course carpenters use some STEM knowledge and skills but, they also have to pass tests to get a builders license so they can be insured for their work. The test makes sure they are aware of the basics to build a good safe structure and then the building inspector checks their work to make sure they applied all the rules of the local building code.

But when we speak of STEM subject areas it is usually inferred that these are 'higher' end classes that lead to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Not really building a deck or re-shingling a house roof.

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#8
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Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/12/2015 8:40 AM

Massey -- that's exactly the point I wanted to get across. The group of young people for whom we presented this program are bright and motivated. Will they all go on to earn 4-year degrees? Probably not, but there's a very good chance they'll land in one of Hudson Valley's excellent two-year programs, like Electrical Engineering Technology or Construction Technology. And they'll need a solid foundation in math and science to succeed in any of these programs.

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Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/12/2015 9:49 AM

Agreed, but they probably do not need to take Calc I, II, III, IV and Differential Equations which is what the E & M represent in STEM.

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Re: STEM Is For Carpenters Too

03/12/2015 10:44 AM

I understand what you are saying, and carpenters pick up a lot just from on the job experience. They do far more than shingle a roof or build decks. What about framing a house, especially a custom home, where you might have different pitched roofs everywhere. How big of a laminated beam depending on the expanse it has to stretch across. Then there is the little variable as to the owner making changes. They don't go to the draftsman, they go to the on side supervisor and say they want a door here now, or that window moved or they want that wall moved to make this one room a bit bigger. If the supervisor disagrees with the change because of structural compromise, then he should be able to give a good scientific answer as to why it won't work, or be able to make adjustments to make it work. Usually just rule of thumb knowledge is enough. But changes like making a roof a 12x12 pitch when it was originally called out to be 3x4 pitch, and wanting to make that added space in the attic a room, changes some dynamics and also increases costs.

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BestInShow (2); Del the cat (3); Janissaries (1); Kilowatt0 (1); Massey (2); SavvyExacta (1)

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