Robotics Revolution: Empowering Students for Success in Peshtigo, Wisconsin
In the quaint town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, a remarkable transformation is taking place within the educational landscape. The traditional image of hands-on woodworking is giving way to an innovative approach that merges technology and craftsmanship, and it’s all about robots. In a world where technology reigns supreme, student’s in Peshtigo are not just learning how to build robots but also how to program them to perform tasks, marking a significant step towards nurturing their future success.
At the heart of this evolution is the dedication of Peshtigo’s educators and the collaborative efforts of community partners such as the Waupaca Foundry. With a mission to equip students with the skills required for modern careers, teachers have been guiding their students through the intricacies of robotic creation using the UKITs. These students, from kindergarten through high school, are exposed to STEM concepts that will pave the way for their future success.
A local technology educator, Beth Rocque, beautifully captured the essence of this shift, stating, “Modern woodworking is switching from hands-on building to programming and monitoring machines to build products.”1 In a world where automation and technology are becoming integral to various industries, the curriculum transformation couldn’t be more timely.
Waupaca Foundry’s involvement is noteworthy as they provided UKITs to help enhance the quality of STEM education in Peshtigo. The UKITs have been impactful across grade levels as they are thoughtfully designed to suit the needs of students of different ages. These kits enable students and teachers to not only construct robots but also delve into the world of programming, motors, and sensors.
According to Beth Rocque, the benefits extend beyond technical skills. “They have about 50 projects to choose from. This helps them learn teamwork, problem-solving, and to follow directions and code,”1 she explains. The assembly and coding process culminates in students controlling their creations using iPads, forging a tangible connection between coding and real-world applications.
Moreover, the impact of these initiatives ripples through Peshtigo’s education system. Vocational studies teacher Dan Vanidestine highlights how these kits help support industry-relevant certifications, such as the Certified Production Technician 4.0, enabling students to bridge theory and practice effectively.
Collaboration and teamwork are at the core of this transformation. Students often work together to design and create robots, fostering valuable communication and cooperation skills. As these young minds tinker, program, and innovate, they are also developing traits that extend beyond technical prowess – traits like computational thinking, adaptability, digital literacy, and problem-solving.
The support from the community and local businesses, like Waupaca Foundry, cannot be understated. Phil Eatherton, the human resources manager at Waupaca Foundry, recognizes the importance of STEM skills in the community and the industry. With a commitment to fostering the next generation of talent, the Foundry has invested nearly $30,000 in local schools, demonstrating their dedication to shaping the future workforce.
As opportunities continue to emerge in engineering and other fields at Waupaca Foundry, the alignment between education and industry needs becomes ever more apparent. The educators, in collaboration with community partners, are not only preparing students for technical excellence but also instilling qualities that transcend careers – punctuality, respect, energy, dedication, and amicability. These traits, as Eatherton eloquently puts it, are universal and can transform anyone into a valued teammate in any organization.
In Peshtigo, the future is being crafted by robotic hands, guided by visionary educators, and nurtured by a supportive community. As these students prepare to enter the world armed with cutting-edge skills and timeless values, the town of Peshtigo stands as a beacon of innovation and collaboration in pursuing a brighter tomorrow.