Nov 29 2017
At W.R. Thomas Middle School, Adam Mack is preparing his students for the future. Adam teaches engineering, design, and robotics to six classes of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who use SolidProfessor to learn the ins and outs of Inventor and prepare for certification.
SolidProfessor is successfully used by 11 high schools in the Miami-Dade school district for students earning industry certifications and learning tangible engineering skills. The widespread success among high school students prompted district administrators to challenge middle school students to earn industry certifications as well.
This is when SolidProfessor was introduced to Adam. “They know that I’m the kind of guy that’s going to say ‘OK! Let’s do it,’ if they bring me a challenge,” exclaimed Adam. He was tasked with leading this pilot program to prove career readiness in middle schoolers and having every student enrolled in the first class pass the Inventor User Certification Exam.
“The initial class had about 9 weeks to prepare for the exam,” stated Adam. “That was an extremely intense timeline, and my students were working extremely hard to learn the material. Now, I spread their exam preparation out over the entire year.”
Adam’s students start the year by watching introductory lessons on Inventor to develop a general understanding of the software. Students take notes on the concepts covered in the videos and refer to their notes as they go through guided practice exercises. “They follow along in SolidProfessor just like they would with an instructor.” Adam also mixes in projects to support the videos, exercises, and assessments so students get hands-on experience with the material they just learned. “Every now and then we do something fun like design rims for a car and see who can come up with the craziest design,” says Adam.
Once his students have experienced and understand the material, they are directed to practice exercises to confirm their proficiency. Every concept is broken down into sections and then into bite-sized videos. The students must build their skills and master a topic before they move on.
In the first year of the program, 95% of the students that sat for the Inventor User Certification Exam passed. The next year, Adam was transferred to another middle school where he mirrored the original program and was just as successful. 27 students sat for the exam, and 22 passed.
The format of the Inventor User Certification Exam tripped up some of Adam’s students. His students were used to multiple choice and true/false style exams. “We have to remember that these are middle schoolers. They’re not familiar with the style of testing that they are going to see on the exam.” SolidProfessor’s Inventor User Certification prep course helps combat this by explaining how to prepare, how the exam is administered, and the types of questions to expect on the test. “It is very useful,” asserts Adam.
“SolidProfessor gives my student a great foundation. They get to understand and utilize what they’re learning in a real-world setting,” says Adam. “I love the program. The ability to differentiate my students frees me up to move around the room and give my students individual assistance.”
Adam’s student’s love it too – “It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s educational, and it’s understandable,” says Cynthia Roig, one of the 7th graders Adam teaches.
About the Author
SolidProfessor Marketing Specialist and eight time mini hoop dunk contest champion.