Teacher, business find common ground in classroom
By Bob Stiles
Published: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 8:31 p.m.
Teacher Bob Wesolowski got the attention of his seniors in St. Joseph Catholic High School in Natrona Heights through an experiment.
The classroom demonstration further forged a partnership with business that might lead to future scientists and innovation.
Students used ball bearings donated by Blawnox-based Bearing Service Co. of Pennsylvania for an experiment on corrosion.
The arrangement is one example of employers and schools working together to help students learn.
The Governor's Manufacturing Advisory Council is recommending manufacturers develop an adopt-a-school programs to help encourage youngsters to consider careers in manufacturing, where there is a shortage of skilled workers.
Schools and businesses are natural partners and should work together more, Wesolowski said.
“It shows education should not be confined to the four walls of a school,” he said.
Rust causes more than $400 billion in damage annually to military equipment, bridges, power plants and other facilities, according to the University of Akron, a pioneer in the field of corrosion research.
“Its a neat and simple (experiment), and it was very successful,” Wesolowski said. “It got the kids interested, and they realized you can have fun with science and you can build on that.”
In the experiment, students put ball bearings in salt water to make rust. They then wrapped one ball bearing in aluminum foil and grazed that ball bearing against another one until they sparked and removed rust.
“The spark was the visible sign the electron was transferred from the aluminum to the other ball bearing,” Wesolowski said.
After witnessing a demonstration with ball bearings last summer at University of Akron, Wesolowski went to fellow high school staff member Megan Julius and asked her about the possibility of getting ball bearings for the school.
“She thought I was totally nuts,” Wesolowski joked.
Julius contacted Bearing Service through a customer, and the ball bearing manufacturer donated about 50 ball bearings to the school.
“They wanted them as rusty as possible,” Carolyn Matta of Bearing Service said.
“I think it's a great idea, if we can help a school in any way,” Matta added.
Her company often helps students, especially those in college in the summer, to design ball bearings for such projects as robots, Matta said.
Wesolowski has been involved with PPG Industries this school year in an experiment that centers on making glass with sugar, the type of glass used in the entertainment industry as a prop or for special effects.
The experiments and business partnerships might inspire a future scientist from his classes, Wesolowski conceded.
“You never know,” he said.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Marcellus shale driller Noble Energy Inc. sinks roots into Pittsburgh
- ‘Fresher, different, lot more fun’ guide changes at Kings Family Restaurants
- Dick’s Sporting Goods 4Q profit rose 7%
- Profit falls at American Eagle Outfitters on sales decline, charges
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Sbarro again files for bankruptcy reorganization
- Weather worsens McDonald’s sales struggles
- Stocks dip on gloomy data from Asia
- EBay shareholders urged to reject Icahn picks
- Regular IRA or Roth? Pick either
- 1,500 Bangladesh factories set to be inspected by August