New England Institute of Technology, with three campuses in Rhode Island, has formed its own Quadricycle Club. The purpose of this club is to have Mechanical Engineering Technology (MCT) students, as well as interested students from any of the college’s more than 40 academic programs, work collaboratively towards a goal of reverse engineering, manufacturing, and building Henry Ford’s first automobile, the Quadricycle. Club Advisor, Christopher Vasconselas, a faculty member in the MCT program is thrilled to see the excitement in his students as they bring their very own Quadricycle to life. The club meets anywhere from 2-5 hours per week, and the members hope to have the Quadricycle ready to take its maiden voyage in two years—a labor of love for certain.
The club was formed one year ago and now has 20 members who are familiar with various computer software programs such as SolidWorks mechanical design software as well as Microsoft Word and Excel. They work with equipment such as a manual engine lathe, manual vertical mill, horizontal and vertical band saw, pedestal grinder, and belt sander. There are many activities and skills that these students must perform in the building of the Quadricycle, some of which include interpreting engineering drawings, solid modeling using SolidWorks software, raw material and parts quoting, machining metal, basic carpentry work, electrical wiring, welding, and assembly. In fact, the students are making the majority of the parts from scratch with only 10-15 percent being produced by outside vendors. One student is even doing welding at home. Everyone is so enthusiastic!
The students are honing their electrical, carpentry, machining and assembly skills. So far, they have manufactured the main bearings, front spindle arm, drive pulley, ignition spring holder, drive pulley washers, drive sprocket, connecting rods, rear engine support, timing gear bolt, drive sprocket pins, rudder connector, water jackets, front engine mount, rear axle bearings, front engine bolt and support, and jackshaft.
Two students built a Quadricycle dolly so the car can be easily moved from place to place during construction.
The New England Tech Quadricycle is the only one of its kind in Rhode Island. After taking it for a few spins around the college parking lot, Chris hopes to showcase the Quadricycle at the college for faculty, staff, students and visitors to enjoy. To follow the club’s progress, email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401-739-5000, ext. 3617. You can view his photo library here.
Under the leadership of President Richard I. Gouse, New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit technical college with an enrollment of more than 3,000 students. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
By Linda Dionne. Since 2009, Linda A. Dionne has served as Media Relations Specialist at New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI. In addition to writing articles for various trade publications and blogs, Linda is responsible for preparing and distributing press releases as well as coordinating all media requests and interviews. Linda is also the editor for the college’s quarterly newspaper, Tech News, and a monthly on-line newsletter, Tech Talk. Linda is a graduate of Bryant University (RI) with a Bachelor of Science degree in management and marketing.
Posing next to the life-size statue of Henry Ford (object ID 2003.117.1) outside of the Michigan Café.
On a Friday morning in March during my spring break my phone rang. I woke up and groggily answered the phone. The call was from The Henry Ford. It was one of my future mentors calling to ask me to interview for their Simmons Graduate Internship in the Curatorial Department. A few short hours, several cups of coffee, and a quick review of my resume later, I had completed my phone interview. I felt pretty good about how it had gone, but the waiting came next, and two weeks later I had a voicemail offering me the internship. I was ecstatic. I could hardly believe The Henry Ford wanted me for the summer, and that my project was research, something I never had the time to do. It couldn’t get much better.
As a Masters Candidate in the Eastern Illinois University Historical Administration program, I am required to complete six months of full-time internship work. The first three months I am spending at The Henry Ford. As a member of this year’s intern group of three, I work closely with the Curatorial Department. The other two interns and I are working on a project that involves the Adams House (also called the Adams Family Home—not to be confused with thatAddams family!) in Greenfield Village, and it has been my job to do the research portion of this project. As I am halfway through this experience, I am reflecting on what I have learned thus far.
The core of my research focuses on the town of Saline, Mich., and the First Baptist Church, which in 1846 built the parsonage that now is in Greenfield Village. Through my research efforts I have developed new skills and honed ones I already possessed. For starters, I have mastered Ancestry.com, a tool that makes researching people a lot of fun; in fact, sometimes I get a little carried away. I also have access to the resources of the Benson Ford Research Center. Did you know if you put all the shelves together in the stacks of the research center it would be about five miles of shelving?
At work examining collection pieces.
Another skill I am learning is communication, as I send out research questions and requests and correspond with people across the country and even across the Atlantic Ocean, where I’ve been in contact with Oxford and the Bristol Baptist College. My daily tasks vary from week to week, and my “To-Do” list seems to be growing by the second. The weight of the job, and the expectations that come from it, are very real, as I have to meet deadlines, go to meetings, discuss the project, and present my work.
A few of my tasks have included researching different stories that might be told in the Adams House and developing those stories so they are applicable to the message The Henry Ford wishes to emphasize. My favorite part of researching is discovering the stories of the people – and I have come across some good stories. For example, the Reverend Charles Evans served as a missionary in Sumatra from 1819-1826 during a time of political unrest and tiger and elephant stampedes. Later on he is the minister in Saline, living in our parsonage with six children. These people are so real to me I feel I could sit down and have a conversation with them.
I have also had the opportunity to go collection hunting, which is possibly more difficult than buying jeans. Sometimes objects end up in the wrong place, without a number, or buried behind a giant papier-mâché foot—for example. But even with the odds stacked against us hidden treasures can be uncovered.
Some of the treasures we've discovered in storage:
These “finds” are a thing of joy, especially when they create opportunities to enhance a storyline. This process so far has allowed me to utilize the information I learned in my schooling and apply it to my work at The Henry Ford. It has also given me access to brilliant minds and visions and has expanded my own ability to perform. This experience has proven difficult, fun, crazy, but most importantly, it is the reason I like to get up in the morning and come to work. I never know what I will find when I’m digging into the past!
Clarissa Thompson is one of the 2013 Simmons Graduate Interns at The Henry Ford.
I had the distinct honor of being named one of the top 10 winners of the PBS/The Henry Ford national Teacher Innovators award in 2011. I spent a week that summer attending the Innovation Immersion workshop, at The Henry Ford, which was the actual award.
As a master teacher of 26 years, with substantial experience in curriculum development (at both local and state levels) and educational technology integration, I have reached a point in my career where it can be very easy to coast or repeat what I have done in the past. I am lucky to have been involved in a new and substantial educational technology roll-out at my district, and act as one of the district Technology Integration Specialists. I end up leading a tremendous amount of professional development, and while this helps keep me motivated and “forces” me to be continually learning so I can train in a turnkey manner, sometimes its hard to find professional development that really gets me excited.
Burn out (or sheer laziness) is always a worry for me.
The Teacher Innovator award required me to really take a look at some of the ways I was teaching, and to do some serious reflection focused into a very specific direction. To be able to follow up that experience with a week of deep immersion at The Henry Ford was a truly outstanding and highly motivating professional development experience. The combination of meeting, talking and working with other highly motivated and innovative teachers (from all grade levels and subject areas), with added direction from Paula Gangopadhyay and the team at The Henry Ford, and with the amazing resources available at (and the wonderful setting of) The Henry Ford, was an incredibly stimulating (and led directly to my being involved in some very worthwhile online professional learning communities).
It didn't take much reflection during the remaining days of my summer “vacation” to realize that The Henry Ford’s facilities, its resources and the philosophy of Henry Ford himself, embodied so well by The Henry Ford, were a perfect fit to, and a wonderful reinforcement, of many of the philosophies I have believed in for some time - philosophies that are quickly coming to prominence in many progressive areas of education. The ideas of project based learning, cross curriculum and multi-disciplinary approaches to education and the idea of a switch from STEM to STEAM education.
Not only does The Henry Ford embody these ideas, but they have the resources, both educational and physical, to put these ideas into real world practice quite smoothly and effectively. I left with pages of ideas, and have only added to these over the course of the last year and a half, and the network of friends, colleagues and mentors created by a week at The Henry Ford has helped to keep the initial burst of enthusiasm burning.
I am grateful to PBS and The Henry Ford for providing me this unique professional development and innovative leadership experience. I am extremely happy that PBS and The Henry Ford are continuing to encourage teachers each year to think out-of-the-box, use digital tools to reinvent education and provide rich contextual tools to further teaching and learning as part of the award. For anyone searching for real-life, exciting and effective 21st century professional development, Paula, The Henry Ford, Innovation 101 curriculum, the OnInnovation web resource and the Teacher Innovation Award are a combination well-suited to meet that need.
By Keith Rosko, Fine Arts Department Chairperson and Technology Integration Specialists