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MWHS Engineering and Robotics Program Continues to Grow
January 8, 2019 — Over the past seven years, Mound Westonka High School has offered a high school engineering program that addresses the growing need for careers in this field. MWHS offers a certified Project Lead the Way (PLTW) four-year engineering program. Students have the opportunity to earn college credit for the majority of these courses, and many students who complete the PLTW coursework end up pursuing careers in the engineering and manufacturing fields.
Students who take engineering courses at MWHS have the opportunity to work with industry-level equipment, including a 3D printer, a laser engraver, a bench mill and a CNC router. The engineering “fab lab” gives students the chance to apply the math and science they have learned to real-world, authentic problems.
As a complement to the high school engineering program, MWHS is entering its fourth year as a member of the FIRST Robotics League, an international robotics program created by inventor Dean Kamen for the purpose of fostering interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) among students. FIRST stands for “For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” and through the robotics league, students work with engineering and computer programming professionals to build a robot that can complete required tasks in competition. High school teams involved in FIRST Robotics have six weeks to design, build and test their robots before heading out to competitions around the country. The MWHS team, the TonkaBots, will be competing in Duluth, Minnesota in early March 2019.
Both the PLTW and FIRST Robotics programs require outside funding to maintain their equipment, purchase materials and cover robotics competition expenses. The programs have received generous support from Rockwell Automation, General Dynamics, local businesses, individuals and the Westonka District #277 Foundation.
On Sunday, Jan. 13, the Westonka Engineering and FIRST Robotics Omelet Breakfast and Silent Auction Fundraiser will be held at the Mound American Legion from 9 a.m. to noon to support the programs. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Come out for a great breakfast and support your high school engineering and the FIRST Robotics League.