By REBECCA HAZEN
Dade County High School classes have partnered with the Tennessee Chapter of the American Foundry Society (AFS), providing hands on learning, and creating possible job opportunities after graduation.
According to afs-tn.org, “The American Foundry Society is the leading U.S. based metalcasting society.”
The Tennessee Chapter of the AFS provided a kit, a “Foundry in a Box” for teachers to use in their classes.
The kit has tools and supplies for heating metal, using oil-based sand casting. The kit also includes about 10 pounds of tin, as well as molds for the metal.
Teachers Dr. Catherine Turner and Dr. Doug Bailer both have used the kit in their classes, which include physical science, physics and chemistry.
“There is probably about $2,000 worth in here,” Bailer said. “This is the exact same process that they used in industrial foundries.”
The kit helps the students learn about science in a hands on way. For example, Turner uses it to teach about melting points, and the different states of matter: liquid, gas and solid.
“We talk about what is happening on a molecular level,” Turner said.
Dr. Bailer has even made small tokens with the kit, which he gives out as rewards to his students.
Turner noted that members from the AFS have also come to the school to speak to students. Turner said that she was especially happy that women were a part of the group.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for our students. Any time that you can get industry people to come in, it’s great – especially the girls. They see that, and they say, ‘Hey she looks like me,’” Turner said.
According to Turner, the AFS offered the equipment to the school. The school did not ask for it.
“Our partnership basically started because they were so excited at how excited we were,” Turner said. “The enthusiasm that we had for the opportunity for our students fired them up. They said, ‘We would like to give you this equipment.’”
Working with the foundry kit also provides an opportunity for the students, for possible jobs. Turner noted that there were a number of foundries near Dade County.
Student Mia Isebella Sabogal, a senior in Rick Wilson’s mechatronics class, has had experience working with the foundry kit.
“My favorite part of school and science classes has been the hands-on stuff. It really excites me. I like being able to do it myself. I made something and I get to see the results,” Sabogal said.
Sabogal continued, “When I get to see what I learned and apply it, it makes me more interested and makes me want to learn more.”
Going forward, the AFS will come out to the high school and teach some of the higher level classes. The teachers will also work with them on developing lesson plans.
“I think it is so wonderful to have industry partners,” Turner said.