Physics, biology, geology, chemistry and math teachers from Albuquerque Public Schools and the ASK Academy are spending part of their summer in classrooms at the University of New Mexico learning about MEMS systems.
MicroElectroMechanicalSytems (MEMS) are technologies embedded in automobiles, tablets and smart phones. The teachers are learning ways to teach their students about MEMS devices as part of units in physics or biology.
MEMS manufacturing technicians are in very high demand and instructors drive home that point by emphasizing that students who pursue MEMS manufacturing certification can make $100,000 a year as members of the technical staff at the national laboratories. But first the teachers must learn the technology and explore ways to incorporate it into a typical high school curriculum. The Southwest Center for Microsystems Education at UNM has come up with learning modules teachers can use to teach specific concepts such as building a pressure sensor.
Students at UNM and Central New Mexico Community College already have access to MEMS manufacturing courses. At UNM, students can design MEMS applications as well.
The teachers taking courses this summer will bring MEMS concepts into Albuquerque high schools this fall. The Southwest Center for Microsystems Education is supported by a grant from National Science Foundation with the goal of building a workforce to handle advanced materials manufacturing.
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