MATC Students Put Zoo Train on the Map

While MATC students were doing fieldwork to create a survey of the coal handling area for our Zoo Train Challenge, they took the time to shoot some 3D photos. Those images are now available on Google Maps, and give a good look at the site our Zoo Train students are focused on.

To view other images in the series, pull up the Zoo on Google Maps, and click the icon of the little person in the lower right corner of your browser

We Energies Hosts Site Tours for Zoo Train Students

Over the past two days, We Energies hosted four tours of their coal handling facility in Oak Creek for students in our Zoo Train Challenge. A team of five from We Energies walked students through the procedures they follow to safely store and move coal from when it arrives by train to when it is used in the power plant. On their tour of the facility, students were able to see the equipment and systems in use.

What students learned about how to manage coal on a very large scale, they will now bring to bear as they think through how to revise the coal handling process at the Zoo.

Collab Lab 29 – Recap & Notes

Our 4th season of Collab Labs kicked off on October 10th with a focus on building skilled trades talent.  We began the discussion by building an inventory of the skills we’d like to see students develop. These fell into two broad categories:

Technical Skills

  • Design Skills
  • Read blueprints & technical drawings
  • Fine motor skills/hand-eye coordination
  • Math and measurement
  • Budgeting/Understanding job costs
  • General understanding of construction trades
  • Equipment/resource planning

Soft Skills

  • Creativity/Innovation/Problem solving
  • Fail Fast
  • Safety
  • Ability to take constructive criticism
  • Ability to take direction
  • Self Advocacy
  • Self discipline/integrity/follow through/show up ready to work
  • Self confidence
  • Determination/grit
  • Collaboration/Interpersonal skills within a team
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to listen
  • Willingness to learn/ask thoughtful question

From there we asked each discussion group to talk through experiences that do or could provide opportunities to build those skills. Here’s what they came up with:

  • Build2Learn Camp $500 stipend for summer workshop
  • European model – apprentices
  • Engage employers – job shadow
  • Inspire/Awe – Makerspace Home Depot creative space
  • Intentionally incorporate soft skills into lessons
  • Provide high interest projects
  • Bring industry speakers into the classroom
  • Real world applications with purpose – e.g. 3D prosthetics
  • Mentorships
  • Teamwork: moving a project to completion
  • Presenting/exhibiting craft work
  • Building confidence with no or low risk simulations.
  • Leverage connections and take them to scale
  • Address skills gaps with “it takes a village” perspective
  • Get professionals into classrooms
    • They can learn from students
    • Talk with students, not down to them

Our final step was to have each group take those ideas, talk through what a program might look like, and share that out with the entire group. Here’s where they landed:

Project Start to finish real world application

  • Build a house
  • Bring in industry
  • Have mentors
  • Engage employers
  • Build soft skills
  • Build technical skills

Goal is to have job ready workers, provide apprenticeships, job opportunities.

Identify industry partner/employer

  • Ask “What do you need from us?”
  • Identify what workforce needs exist
  • Identify training/skills needed

Company sponsored projects

  • Materials or time
  • Interviews of
    • the company
    • the student
  • Interdisciplinary/project based learning
  • Working with other schools/districts
  • Protocols
  • Feedback models – Hard on content/soft on person
  • Leverage technology
    • Skype team meetings
    • Drone/webcams of projects progressing
    • Build excitement about upcoming technologies

Early Hands-on Exposure

  • Youth apprenticeships
  • Out of comfort zone
  • Peer mentorship
  • Self-realization/mediation
  • Options (electives)

Students: Littles – early exposure

Education Workplace: Welcoming anti-racist, data-driven, performance based

What’s needed to move forward: Looking past personal bias, equal access to opportunities, a cultural shift


Industry-owned Youth Apprenticeships

  • IDing under-served population
  • Mapped to skilled trades values and skills
  • Bringing the industry straight to the families

Thanks to CG Schmidt for sponsoring our food and beverages for the evening, The Commons for providing the space, and to our featured participants for sharing their expertise and ideas,

Peter Graven – Earth Science/ Life Science/ Robotics, Deer Creek Intermediate School (St Francis)

Craig Griffie – Technology Education, Brown Deer High School

Tracey Griffith – HR Outreach Manager, Walbec Group

Crystal Marmolejo – Project Engineer, CG Schmidt

Reginald Reed – Founder/CEO, Mindful Staffing Solutions

Josh Rudolf – Scheduling Manager, Mortenson 

Career Interviews – An Inside Look

Chloe Smith is the UWM PhD student leading the English classes working piloting our Career Interviews project.  She’s published a blog post about the experience here

Things are off to a good start:

I’m blown away by how engaged these students have been, and how willing they are to work through a research process that, for most of them, is entirely new. They’re approaching these interviews—and the prospect of the research that will come after—with enthusiasm and creativity.

Zoo Train Challenge for 2019-2020 Kick-Off

This year 140 students from 11 area schools will participate in our Zoo Train Challenge– redesign the coal handling process used for the Zoo’s steam locomotives. At yesterday’s kick-off event, students had a chance to visit the site, see what it’s like to lift a bushel bucket of coal, and meet their peers from other schools.

Before we went into a Q & A session, we sat students at tables where they got to know peers from other schools and worked together to identify the questions they wanted to see answered at the session. That process was led by Dr. David Howell from MSOE, who brought along 13 MSOE student volunteers to help facilitate the work at each table.

While students went through that work, teachers and industry advisers had a chance to meet and talk through how they will run the project in their classrooms. Two New Berlin students from last year’s challenge joined us for the event– one, who went to the school board for permission to retake the engineering class so she could participate this year, and a second who is now at MSOE, and came along to help.

2023-24 Collab Labs

Skip to content
Verified by MonsterInsights