Northwestern Inspiration Station STEM Lab
hosts open house

Northwestern opens doors for tour of STEM lab

By EMILY VOTAW Daily Record Staff Writer
Published: October 27, 2014 4:00AM

NORTHWESTERN DISTRICT -- Northwestern Local Schools welcomed the public to tour Northwestern Middle School's Inspiration Station STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Lab last week. The lab is northeast Ohio's first public school STEM lab, giving Northwestern students the opportunity to hone engineering and technology skills.

"Our vision statement here at Northwestern is to prepare our students today for tomorrow's opportunities," said Northwestern Local Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Layton. "Inspiration is about engagement, problem solving, using creativity, collaboration, and the scientific process to hypothesize, to offer theories and explanation, involving those 21st century real world skills needed to be successful and prepared for 21st century careers and college."

Northwestern Middle School STEM instructor, Lee Kimmich, led a short tour of the school's STEM facilities.

The tour began with a brief overview of a room dedicated to various robotics equipment, desktop computers, the school's 3-D printer and more.

"This is the classroom environment where students design what they will create in the shop," said Kimmich. "This is where students learn all the necessary skills to create a product with the 3-D printer." On display were several objects students had created with a 3-D printer, among them was a playful model fish.

Kimmich then took the crowd to the Wood Technology Shop area, which houses a full-sized computer numerical control (CNC) machine, holders, bits, a digital Shopbot tabletop CNC machine, saws, grinders and more.

Students use CNC machines to create the items they digitally design.

The final portion of the tour consisted of a room housing various digital equipment that must be kept in a dust-free environment. On display was the school's recently-purchased laser engraver, alongside several demo engravings by students. Although various Northwestern mascot engravings were the only product of the laser engraver on display, Kimmich explained the machine has the capability to do a lot more.

"It can cut through materials, it is a pretty strong laser," said Kimmich, who went on to explain safety is a key issue that is taken into consideration when instructing students around these pieces of equipment.

"The biggest thing is always safety," said Kimmich. "None of the middle school students operate the laser engraver without my supervision. Basically I make sure that everything is squared away and that there are no questions before kids start working."

After touring the facilities, Layton recognized some of the top contributors to the development and construction of the school's STEM lab. Northwestern Local Schools has received over $53,000 in donations to create the lab. The largest donation came from LuK USA of Wooster in the form of the full-sized CNC machine, as well as training.

Layton recognized the school's top 10 contributors: The Romich Foundation, the Weltmer Foundation, Schaeffler-LuK, the University of Akron-Wayne College, G&S Titanium, Wil Research, Ron Davidoff, Stanford K. Siders, Canton Erector and the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.

"There is no doubt that 'good is the enemy of great,'" said Layton in his dedication speech. "Greatness requires never settling for the status quo. Greatness requires questioning the world around us. Greatness requires inspiration. We must maintain a thirst for knowledge and we must be insatiable in our search for it. Having the atmosphere, tools and collaboration is essential to this journey."

Reporter Emily Votaw can be reached at 330-287-1632 or





























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