Engineer Visit on Industrial Revolutions

Welding Engineer Helps Connect the Dots on Industrial Revolutions
Posted on 10/24/2018
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photo of engineer speaking to West Freshman class about industrial revolutionsWhich invention had a bigger impact on our world - the steam boat or the light bulb, the telephone or the elevator, the 3D printer or the smartphone?


As part of their unit on the four Industrial Revolutions, these were just some of the questions posed to students in Jennifer Parrett’s history class at Lakota West Freshman. But for Parrett, the futuristic aspect of the project was just as important as the reflective piece.


“I believe it is important to make the connection for students that history is happening around them today,” Parrett said. “That’s why a big part of this project was to evaluate the 4th Industrial Revolution. I wanted them to think about what inventions are happening around us right now that will change their lives and their futures.”


Helping students to make those connections was the expert voice of William Roth, whose career in welding and engineering has spanned the U.S. Navy and many corporate roles for companies like Copeland Corporation and Procter & Gamble. Roth, who did the same exercise as Parrett’s students, joined the class for an afternoon to compare his results to a panel of students. According to Roth, his contribution was about “connecting the dots for how all these things fit together” and impact our progress socially and economically.


“Part of the process of a true project based learning exercise involves having an outside expert come in to evaluate the students’ work,” Parrett said. “I was looking for someone in the engineering or research and development field that would have a wide scope of knowledge about inventions and their impact on society.”


Parrett turned to Katie Bauer for help on this piece of the project. Bauer joined Lakota’s team this year as the strategic partnerships coordinator. Her role is to help teachers like Parrett connect with professionals who can help make a connection between what students are learning in class and how it might apply to the world around us or a future career. This might take the form of classroom visitors like Roth, internships or even field trips.


“My students really enjoyed the outside perspective,” Parrett said. “They were very interested in Mr. Roth’s feedback on their decisions and it made the whole project more authentic.”