SIMULIA Community News

October 2015: The Journey from Solve to Innovate

Teachers at Dassault Systèmes

Propelling Ahead!

(Left to right) Donn Chu, Marta Hidalgo, and David Duke.

The TADS (Teachers at Dassault Systèmes) program, established in 2013, is part of a corporate engagement commitment to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. The three main goals of the program are to Educate Teachers by providing first-hand knowledge about STEM careers, to Educate Students by enabling teachers to create learning modules for the classroom, and to Educate Communities by increasing awareness of Dassault Systèmes within the local public school communities. During a 6-week internship at SIMULIA, TADS teachers create curriculum modules that can be used in their classrooms and shared with other teachers.

David Duke, SIMULIA R&D QA Manager, is working with the 2015 TADS teachers, Donn Chu and Marta Hidalgo, of the newly formed Cisco Academy at Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, Rhode Island. The academy aims to provide students with opportunities to learn about, play with, and experience computer and network technologies.

What is your position/school/class/department?

DONN: I teach Computer Information System (CIS), Cisco Networking, and Web Design at Mount Pleasant High School. My responsibilities include managing the school’s technology equipment, training, and assisting teachers in technology integration.

MARTA: I teach Computer Science, Pre-engineering, and ELL at Mount Pleasant High School.

Tell us a little about yourself.

DONN: I have been teaching for 17 years in Providence schools. I graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in Secondary Education, and received my M.A.T in Educational Technology from National University. As a teacher, my actions can help influence a child to make informed and responsible choices in their life. Teaching allows me to continue my own journey as a student and a lifelong learner.

MARTA: I moved to Providence from the Dominican Republic when I was 12 and attended Hope High School. After only 4 years of ESL courses, I attended Johnson & Wales University and received a degree in Computer/Business Applications, Information Science and a M.A.T. in Business Education.

Why were you interested in becoming a TADS teacher?

MARTA: I wanted to offer the ELL (English Language Learners) students an opportunity to take STEM courses while learning English. 30% of our students at Mount Pleasant High School are ELL.

How did you choose the project Propelling Ahead?

The 3-4 week long CTE/STEM instructional unit, Propelling Ahead, was designed to allow students to explore engineering concepts. The students work collaboratively in teams to design and build a propeller-powered boat. They test their boats, redesign as required, and then race their boats against the other teams. The project will help us prepare our pre-engineering students for The Academy’s Robotics on the Water (AROW) event competition (https://providenceschools.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/participation-in-coast-guard-academys-robotics-on-the-water-competition-arow-more-than-doubles-in-its-2nd-year/). Our students won second place in the competition this past year, and we hope that the new curriculum will help them win first place next year.

What were you trying to understand from this project?

The project focuses on engineering, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. The goal is to get students to conduct research, learn to use SOLIDWORKS, understand the Engineering Design Process (EDP,) and apply it to produce a viable solution to an engineering problem.

What do you hope is the biggest take-away for the students?

DONN: Hopefully students will see that engineering can be thrilling and consider a STEM career.

MARTA: I am hoping to inspire some of our ELL students to pursue STEM careers. It will have a tremendous impact on their lives, whether they stay in Providence or choose another place in the world.

What would you say the value of simulation is?

DONN: The value of using simulation in the classroom is best summed up by the Chinese proverb, “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.” Instructional simulations engage students in "deep learning" that empowers understanding as opposed to "surface learning" that requires only memorization. Simulation works!