Jacksonville, AL – Jacksonville City Schools Public Information Officer, Ben Nunnally released today that Jacksonville City Schools and Jacksonville High School are announcing a new program that begins with the fall semester, a STEAM education program called “We Build It Better,” developed by Flight Works Alabama in Mobile. Students get access to professional-grade Snap-On tools and use them to build, wire and program miniature electric vehicles, including an Airbus A320 plane, and develop their own inventions and marketing plans.
Seventh and eighth graders at Jacksonville High School will have the opportunity to get firsthand engineering experience with “We Build It Better” when classes resume Aug. 11.
Computer science and robotics teacher Sheila Reynolds was among 36 middle school teachers from Alabama, California, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, and Wisconsin that convened at Flight Works Alabama in late July, attending a week-long program to familiarize them with the program’s STEAM-based curriculum.
Reynolds said Monday that despite how much she enjoyed the training session, she was even more excited to get students into the mix.
“They’ll learn to be innovators, inventors and problem solvers,” Reynolds said. “These kids are going to get such a benefit; I’m so excited for this program.”
Students in the year-long, extracurricular program will learn real-life engineering skills such as programming and wiring, develop electric vehicles like cars and planes (an Airbus A320, to be exact), and finally invent their own products which they will design, fabricate and market.
“I think it’ll give them a direction toward what they want to do,” Reynolds said, “and it’s important that they start that process at an early age.”
The program will pair well with the school’s new career tech options from Gadsden State Community College, where We Build It Better students will be able to apply their engineering talent in later grades. According to JHS Principal Russ Waits, it’s another avenue to offer students new opportunities and broader horizons.
“We’re always looking to grow and elevate the number of opportunities our students have,” Waits said, “especially as their interest shifts to industry certifications and STEAM jobs.”
About We Build It Better
We Build It Better is an all-inclusive industry-designed, educator-developed, curricular experience that engages middle school students in a work-like STEAM environment. The program lays a foundation for students to understand the process of developing a new product and equips them with the skills needed to design and create an innovative solution to a real-world industry-based challenge.
The We Build It Better program was developed by Flight Works Alabama in partnership with Airbus, Amazon Web Services, the State of Alabama, Alabama Power Foundation, Snap-On Incorporated, and Mott MacDonald. The program’s objective is to weave 21st century work skills with higher-level thinking skills such as measurement, product design, tools, electric wiring, fiber optics, and coding to encourage students to design inventions of their own.
To learn more about We Build it Better, visit https://www.webuilditbetter.org.
About Flight Works Alabama
Flight Works Alabama (FWA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, recognizes a community’s economic growth and resiliency correlates directly with education. FWA’s state-of-the-art education center strives to inspire visitors and provide opportunities for learners of all ages to master 21st century work skills and soft skills. The vision of FWA is to have a long-term impact on education and workforce development for the Gulf Coast and beyond.
To learn more about Flight Works Alabama, visit FlightWorksAlabama.com.