Who We Are
Power Mountain Engineering is an after school STEM program. We are different from other hands-on STEM activities because we build very complex machines from raw materials. No prefabricated plug-and-play projects. At PME, students in grades 8-12 experience real engineering challenges that include project and money management; design reviews and computer simulations; plus a lot of skills training to get the job done right. Team members have the opportunity to explore diverse career interests, which may include:
Renewable Energy Engineer
We are here for the student who is serious about their education and has a passion for making things work. Power Mountain Engineering is a Colorado 501(c)3 organization since May, 2013.
What We Do
We build awesome, experimental machines that excite, astound and inspire! The Program accomplishes this by combining enthusiastic students with local engineering professionals, college students, business leaders, teachers, and skilled parents into a powerful multidisciplinary team. The work takes place at a high school near you with Career and Technical Education facilities (shop) adequate to safely support the students and volunteers. Most projects require around 100 student-volunteer contact hours to complete. Since the project must be finished within the regular school year, the team either meets once each week for the full year, or twice each week to finish within a single semester. The rewards are many:
- Students explore their full potential in STEM by immersing themselves in a unique social, scientific, and skill-based challenge
- Students interested in science and engineering careers have the opportunity to play that professional role as a PME team member
- We turn STEM into STEAM by including professional roles for Art, Journalism, and Business Management.
- Team members practice the same methods professionals use in a formal project setting constrained by a budget, schedule and design requirements
- We instill in the students an unshakeable confidence that they can turn very complex ideas into a working device by applying the STEM skills they already have or will acquire through the Program.
Why We Do It
The ‘E’ in STEM is for Engineering1. Unfortunately, the ‘E’ in STEM is difficult to teach in high school because engineering is not just a classroom subject. Engineering is both an applied science and a practiced art2, 3. The broad set of classroom skills an engineer needs is just the foundation. Engineers mix science fundamentals with imagination and creativity to solve new problems by making things never seen before. How to harness this creative tension between raw imagination and scientific constraint must be learned through practice, in much the same way as painters, dancers, and musicians must practice to become better at expressing the person they are and mastering what they do. Teaching the creative part of engineering under authentic conditions can be expensive and difficult. This is where Power Mountain comes in!
PME puts forward a challenging design and manufacturing project that has no prefabricated solution nor is it guaranteed to succeed. Students and professional engineers design and build a working machine from raw materials and basic principles. The experience shows students how to make creative decisions, meet performance specifications, lower the risk of failure, and remain inside a fixed budget and schedule. Mastering this juggling act of conflicting requirements is the art of engineering.
Who Should Apply?
Power Mountain Engineering is looking for students with the following interests:
- Science and Engineering – If you are interested in a career in engineering or the natural sciences, we are interested in you! These careers could include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and many, many others.
- Design and Fabrication – Do you enjoy computer-based design? Do you like to build things and gain experience doing so? If the answer is yes, we have a need for your passion and talent!
- Arts and Communication – Our projects are sponsored by a gracious and interested community that wants to know how their investment is going! We need graphic artists, photographers, web designers, videographers, journalists and communication majors interested in a career of describing high-tech activities to the general public and press.
- Business Entrepreneurs – First and last, Power Mountain Engineering is a business. If you are interested in business management, we are interested in you! The business of the Power Mountain enterprise is your project.
1John R. Platt, “Engineering – The Silent “E” in K-12 Education,” Today’s Engineer, IEEE.USA Online, October, 2009 http://te.ieeeusa.org/2009/Oct/STEM-education.asp
2“Standards for K-12 Engineering Education?” Committee on Standards for K-12 Engineering Education; National Academy of Engineering, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2010, ISBN 978-0-309-16015-5
3Zhiqiang (Eric) Liu and Dieter J. Schoenwetter, “Teaching Creativity in Engineering,” International Journal of Engineering Ed., Vol. 20, No. 5, pp. 801-808 (2004)