Cariboo Hill to offer pre-engineering program

Woodworking instructor Greg Bernard of Cariboo Hill secondary has long wondered why there isn
Woodworking instructor Greg Bernard of Cariboo Hill secondary has long wondered why there isn't more coordination between tech ed, math and sciences teachers to show students the relevance of lessons outside school. He's helping develop a new pre-engineering program that aims to do just that.
— image credit: Wanda Chow/NewsLeader

When Greg Bernard was studying to be a shop teacher at BCIT, all his classes were "incredibly integrated."

The drawing he did in drafting class was for the project in the woodworking or metalworking class. The math courses taught related calculations.

"I thought that was pretty cool because it really lent a 'real' factor to all the work."

Now Bernard is head of the applied skills department at Burnaby's Cariboo Hill secondary. And after mulling over the idea for years, he's helping bring that coordinated approach to the school.

In September, the school will offer a pre-engineering program. It will be the first of its kind in Burnaby, and perhaps in Metro Vancouver.

The Engineering Summit program will see the school's technology education teachers team up with math and science teachers.

"We're not teaching anything new but the way we want to do it requires that we are all on the same page."

For students who have ever asked when they'll use their math or physics lessons in real life, the program could hold the answers.

The idea is that the teachers will coordinate lessons so they all relate to common projects.

For instance, in tech ed the students build wooden cars propelled by mousetraps and compete to see whose can go the farthest. The physics teacher would talk about the concepts of leverage, momentum, inertia and friction. The math teacher's lessons would use skills needed for the physics calculations and measurements. And the chemistry teacher could discuss the ideal materials for the car.

Engineering Summit will run from grades 10 to 12. Its students will take regular classes but have more  assignments and expectations.

Students will get more lab time with the shop  equipment to build projects that bring those science and math lessons to life.

Burnaby school district plans to present the program to local engineering schools, said Bernard. It hopes to gain preferential admission for its graduates, who will receive an Engineering Summit diploma.

So far, about a dozen students have applied for the new program. Students can apply until spring break.

Bernard can see the program attracting students from across Burnaby.

"It's not the intent but I wouldn't be upset if it happened."


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