CASE STUDY: 3D Printer in Huntington Beach High School
ARTICLE IN ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Technology teacher Kevin Crossett holds a wheel his students designed and created on a 3-D printer. The Huntington Beach High School teacher helps his students apply mathematics and science to real-life projects, such as creating remote control cars, using programs to design houses and researching methods to improve on designs used on earth and space.
ANIBAL ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Family: Wife Laurel, son Landon
City of residence: Newport Beach
School: Huntington Beach High School
Subject: High School technology education
Years in the classroom: Nine
Quote: “I hope they leave my class knowing more technology than any other student at their age.”
QUOTES ABOUT CROSSETT
“He’s able to really see what kids are into and use that. Hands down for sure his students are engaged the entire time they are in that classroom.” – Edward Harris, friend and technology teacher at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove.
“I think he sort of levels with you a lot more than other teachers would. … I can sort of talk to him as a colleague more than a professor, which helps, and he’s pretty honest with you … he lets you take charge of things.” – Chris Lester, 17, senior at Huntington Beach High School.
“He definitely looks into how to get these kids into school, which is something that helped me out – but he also gets them into the mindset of, ‘These are things you can do while you are in school too. You don’t have to wait.’ ” – former student Rigoberto Pulido, 23, industrial design major at Cal State Long Beach.
• Don’t just teach a subject; use the subject as a way to teach problem solving and critical thinking.
• Allow students to be creative and avoid putting too many constraints on them.
• Empower students by giving them big projects and big responsibilities.
Kevin Crossett and Tim Stanbridge stand side by side, arms crossed and shoulders hunched, watching a 3-D printer add layers of plastic to a small vehicle-control arm that Standbridge just designed on a nearby computer.
“Is it working?” Crossett asks his 17-year-old student as the machine’s metal nozzle slowly rotates back and forth over the plastic arm.
“Yeah,” the teen says with a grin.
“Nice!” Crossett replies.
Crossett gives the machine a final examination before sauntering off to check on another student’s work. The 33-year-old technology teacher tries to impart most of his instruction in one-on-one interactions.
He rarely addresses the students as a group, reads to them from a textbook or makes long presentations. Instead, Crossett prefers to give his Huntington Beach High School students big technological problems and guide them individually as they look for creative solutions.
Students say his technology classes are the most interesting, challenging and fun part of their day because Crossett asks them to tackle some really, really cool problems.
How can you use a 3-D printer to print a new 3-D printer? What would it take to build a vehicle that could run for an hour on $1 worth of fuel?
This semester, Crossett is asking students to design and build a vehicle capable of traveling 500 meters on the moon, taking a digital picture and transmitting it back to earth.
Next semester, his class may become one of the first high school classes in the world to take control of a satellite for a week. He plans for the teens to write computer code that will direct the satellite to perform science projects such as measuring the earth’s magnetic field.
“I am trying to figure out what is the highest level of math and science I can expose the students to,” Crossett says. “And I think that’s it.”
HIGH SCHOOL INSPIRATION
Crossett’s fascination with technology started in high school with a drafting class at Altmar-Parish Williamstown High School.
Crossett’s teacher in upstate New York, Randy Shelmidine, taught students how to use computer-aided design, or CAD, programs, but also made them put that knowledge to work on real-life projects such as building better classroom tables.
“The passion he had for designing with CAD,” Crossett says, “definitely translated into the passion I have.”