I didn’t know about National Manufacturing Day until last year when our local ASQ Section sponsored a Middleton High School event. Who knew that the seemingly insignificant act of me checking my son out of school early to attend the Commissioner’s proclamation that day would lead to a year of commitment to awareness and action. (Oh, and congratulations to Middleton High School, the Pre-Collegiate STEM Academy for Hillsborough County Public Schools, who has been designated by the SME Education Foundation as a Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education (PRIME) School Site.)
Soon after last year’s Manufacturing Day, I organized a facility tour at Heat Pipe Technology for my son’s FLL LEGO League. The kids were nine and ten at the time and had left there with such interest and enthusiasm that I thought it could be something scalable that would be a win-win. Because of this, I decided to pursue some type of observation for 2014 at our elementary school.
Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) assisted with sending me ideas and materials. They’re great! The Director of Engineering & Operations over at Heat Pipe met with the principal and I to discuss potential field trip ideas, but logistics really were an issue. In the end, I pitched we use a LEGO theme because it was consistent with the school’s overall theme for the year. We worked with the Morning Show to read several LEGO production fun facts and show videos about manufacturing mini-figures and bricks. Did you know that LEGO is the largest tire manufacturer in the world?! We also sent home a handout talking about the different jobs available in manufacturing to all of of the 5th graders.
So far, I’ve heard only positive things from my network of friends in the industry regarding the overall success of the day. Heat Pipe had 41 students and a significant increase in girls go through their doors last Friday. They even scored some positive and well-deserved PR via the local papers in the process…