Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Local Jobs |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling
Rocklin & Roseville Today Local Events
contact add event advertise 

Sierra College NSF Tech-Explorer Teaches Applied Math

ROCKLIN, CA - Teachers have a model for teaching applied math as a result of the Sierra College Tech-Explorer project funded by the National Science Foundation. Findings showed that using hands-on projects, connected to authentic work situations, improves teaching of mathematics.

 A total of 306 students built catapults using mills, lathes, drills and other industrial tools. Then the students captured speed, distance, and height of a launched ball during a competition and used the data in a parabolic equation to determine the best launch angle. In addition, 32 teachers participated in three workshops on using hands-on math projects in the classroom.

 According to the project principle investigator, Sandra Scott, integrating practical application into math classes and math into technical classes is imperative. "Students really responded when they realized that the parabolic curve is used in headlights, snowboards and solar collectors," said Scott. "We need to show students how math is applied." A student survey revealed that:

  • 94% recommended that their school continue to present the project;
  • 88% had a greater understanding of the importance of taking accurate measurements;
  • 82% felt the project made them more aware of the importance of checking work;
  • 73% felt that they learned math better from a hands-on project than from a text book; and
  • 64% felt the project helped them understand how math is used in the real world.

 Participating teachers benefited from new ways to integrate math into projects and hands-on tools that they can use in the classroom to practice math skills. One teacher commented that through project, instructors can "show them - not tell them - how math can be useful."

 The Sierra College Tech-Explorer catapult project has been adopted at College of the Canyons, College of the Sequoias, and San Bernardino Community College. The Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing's Advanced Manufacturing in Tennessee used it at a camp for 8-9th graders. Nebraska's Columbus Public Schools incorporated Tech-Explorer into SHINE, a NSF funded program.

 "Applied math skills are essential to pursuing STEM careers yet employers report that technicians lack this critical knowledge," said Scott. As part of the project, Sacramento area employers reported that technicians were required to know addition, subtraction, multiplication, decimals, fractions, metric conversions and converting decimals to fractions. Other needed skills included measuring; knowing the difference between height, width and depth; memorizing basic formulas; and using simple geometry.

 "Through this NSF Tech-Explorer project we discovered that not only do students need a practical reason to learn math," said Scott. "They need a review of basic math skills, especially fractions, to complete the project and prepare for STEM education and careers."

 Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) received NSF Advanced Technological Education grant #1003259 for $150,000. The CACT serves manufacturers and technology companies with customized training & technical support; provides entrepreneurs with access to rapid prototyping and other manufacturing technologies; and through the Sierra STEM Collaborative supports career technical education programs in manufacturing & product development, engineering & design pathways at the high school and college level. Additional information is available at or contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge at 916-660-7801 or

Placer County News Headlines

PCWA Customers Curb Water Use 34 PercentDrought Watch: Since June of this year, PCWA customers have decreased water use by 34 percent in comparison to base year 2013.

Roseville Area Events Calendar for October 3, 2015Roseville, CA - Bright sunshine and warm temps make for ideal conditions as the fall events season kicks into full swing in Roseville and beyond.

Placer County Child Support Services Recognized for ImprovementsThe Placer County Department of Child Support Services has received the 2015 Most Improved Child Support Program Award

Free Hazardous Waste Drop Off in AuburnPLACER COUNTY, Calif. - The Western Placer Waste Management Authority's annual household hazardous waste collection event will be held Saturday and Sunday

Repeat DUI's Targeted with Ignition Interlock ProgramOn Monday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 61, adding another 18 months to a four-county ignition interlock pilot program

California Fire Updates Summary (10-2-15)Nearly 1,000 firefighters are battling 7 large fires. In Northern California, an area of low pressure is moving throughout the area today with light showers

Lincoln Salmon Festival Celebration October 3rdLincoln, CA - The Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF) is gearing up for the sixth annual Salmon Celebration to bring awareness to the migrating salmon population

Roseville Coffee Wars: Dunkin Donuts and Dutch Bros. ExpandingRoseville, CA - Coffee is big business and Roseville is at center stage in South Placer County as the coffee giants battle it out to serve up their high-priced specialty brews.

151,000 Acres Scarred: Rough Fire GrowsCalifornia Fire Updates 2015: In Northern California, an area of low pressure is moving slowly into the area today with light showers expected and cooler temperatures

Seniors First Awarded Grant from Wells FargoSeniors First was recently awarded $10,000 grant from Wells Fargo Bank which will help to continue funding of Seniors First's eight Senior Cafes

Salmon Celebration Festival in Lincoln October 3rdLincoln, CA - The Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF) is gearing up for the sixth annual Salmon Celebration

Free Healthy Aging Program Presentations in OctoberIn a series of four Saturday morning sessions at UC Davis School of Medicine, attendees will learn the latest from physicians and other experts about aging and medical science.

NEWS: In Case You Missed It