In 2013, one of the initial investments for the John Jordan Foundation funded a Windsor High School (WHS) Engineering section though the CTE Foundation Sonoma County. Since then, the program has grown and WHS now has a full STEM Academy.
The annual engineering design challenge, “Walking on Water,” kicked off the new school year at Spring Lake and challenged students to design a device or vessel that will allow them to “walk” 25 yards across the surface of a body of water.
“This is how we want students to be introduced to their educational experience in the STEM academy,” explains Sean Vizino, the program’s engineering teacher. “This is real-world learning that demands accountability. Students get to know each other based on their ideas and contributions to the team.”
The Axis STEM Academy uses the engineering design challenge to start students on a process of developing problem-solving, teamwork, creativity and applied math and science. After only four days of classes, students have to introduce themselves to fellow students, learn to calculate buoyancy forces, brainstorm concepts for a Walk-On-Water device, gather materials and build a “seaworthy” craft to carry one student across the Spring Lake swimming lagoon.