Students lowered the protective goggles over their eyes as drills moved over pieces of plywood, spewing shavings of wood into the air.
What once was a simple piece of wood was slowly being carved and whittled down into a useful, unique tool the students could use for years to come.
In Mark Kloser’s eighth-grade industrial tech class at Kuemper Catholic Middle School, students have spent every day for the past six weeks building phone stands out of plywood.
But before any power tools were turned on, the students first created a prototype of their project. Next, they learned how to use the tools of their trade: a table saw, compound miter box, drill press, bandsaw, drum sander, palm sander and cordless drill.
Madeline Lenz, an eighth-grade student in Kloser’s class, said she had some prior experience using a table saw, but everything else was brand new.
“It’s been fun,” she said. “We’ve learned to use a lot of different tools. I’ve built simple stuff at my grandparents’ house, but I have never built anything this in-depth.”
Lenz said she wants to continue using the skills she has learned during her six-week industrial tech class and plans to put her new phone stand to use.
“I think it’s cool because we can use it in the future,” she said.
Whenever he begins a new project, Kloser said, he wants his students to work on something that does not require a lot of parts or steps to complete but still will be a fun project resulting in a quality tool they can use in everyday life.
“Kuemper always had a lot of students go into engineering, (and the) mechanical drawing was good for engineering students,” he said. “And woodworking and welding were a good fit for farmers and carpenters.”