Foundry in a Box offers hands-on experience
By Debra Weisert
Students at Little Wolf Junior/Senior High School in Manawa recently teamed with employees from Waupaca Foundry to get a “day in the life” career experience.
Arranged by Gordon Barth, manager of employee development and training, and Brian Kaminske, human resources manager, Foundry in a Box teaches area residents about one of the largest local employers and global businesses.
Students in seventh and eighth grades, as well as several high school students taking technical education courses, participated in the Jan. 28-29 events at the school’s technical education facilities.
After a short video presentation on Waupaca Foundry, students donned safety glasses and gloves. They created a mold using sand, pouring the tin casting, then unmolding and grinding their casting to perfection. Students chose from various castings including a flag, key, key ring or horseshoe.
Each student left the experience with their own casting and a new view into the experience of iron casting manufacturing.
“The Foundry in a Box simulation offers students and businesses a way to connect and collaborate,” said LWJSHS Principal Dan Wolfgram. “Many district parents work at Waupaca Foundry and this allows students to learn just a bit about local commerce, industry and how their family members play a role in the economy. Plus, we know that experiential learning sticks with students. They will remember what they did today and apply this knowledge to future learning. We are continually looking for ways to enhance the learning experience, and we appreciate the time and supportive effort with community businesses like Waupaca Foundry.”
Another life skill outcome of hands on learning that was displayed by students was teamwork across the grade levels.
“We were very proud of the high school students who stepped in and assisted the Waupaca Foundry employees by showing steps and helping the students in the junior high to complete their projects, “ said tech ed teacher Dan Koehler. “This gave our upperclassmen the opportunity to learn new skills, and to also demonstrate their advanced technology skills for the seventh and eighth graders. Everyone worked as a team and the process went very smoothly.”
“I really liked the Foundry in a Box because I learned how to make metal parts from molten tin, said Jeremy Grimm, seventh grader. “One of the things I learned was that tin melts at 400 degrees. I made a horseshoe and after I finished I was complemented by a Foundry employee who helped me. He said it was a perfect mold, and that made me feel good.”
Kayla Loughrin, seventh grade, and eighth grader Aniceta Torres, were partners in the activity and both agreed that it was a challenge to perfect their finished product through the grinding process.
“We made keys,” said Loughrin.
“It was really fun, and we were surprised to learn that sand is such an important part of the process,” said Torres. “It took about 20 minutes from start to finish, but we ended up with perfect keys.”
“I liked the hands on work,” said Kyle Harris, seventh grader. “Everyone was helpful and taught us each all the steps in the process. I hope we do it again next year.”
This, like several other hands on career experiences, will continue as part of the strong learning environment the Manawa community and school staff bring to the School District of Manawa. Along with field trip experiences away from school, there will be continued effort to bring career and community events to students on campus as part of the larger focus to have every student college and career ready.
Beginning with the school year 2017-18, all students in grades 6-12 will be required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to have an Academic Career Plan in place that represents their knowledge, skills and abilities to be successful after high school. These opportunities are just some of the activities that complement a students’ core academic subject areas of math, English, social studies and science and help students see how school work applies directly to lifelong success.