RobbJack tour gives up-close view of math in manufacturing

Lincoln News Messenger – October 16, 2013

Colfax High School students got a first-hand look at how math is used in manufacturing Oct. 2 during a tour of RobbJack, a precision cutting tool manufacturing plant in Lincoln. The tour was organized through the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies and Science, Technology, Engineering & Math Collaborative in celebration of National Manufacturing Day, a national program to inspire students to pursue manufacturing careers, said Sierra College President Willy Duncan.

“Through our high school and manufacturing partners, Sierra College can connect students to jobs,” Duncan said. “Our goal is to support local businesses by preparing students with 21st Century skills. On tours, students can see how the skills they are learning in the classroom are applied in the workplace and they become more aware of the education path needed to pursue technical careers.”

Jonathan Schwartz, who teaches math and engineering at Colfax High, appreciated that the RobbJack tour emphasized the use of math as well as demonstrated cutting edge engineering. “It was an opportunity for the students to see how vital math is to many careers,” Schwartz said.  “Many of the students commented that they didn’t know trigonometry was so useful for design and manufacturing.”

Mike MacArthur, RobbJack Corporation’s vice president of engineering, organized the student tour and developed examples to show students how trigonometry is used on a daily basis to improve designs and work with new materials.

“The Colfax students with 3D modeling experience had excellent questions about cutting materials and methods,” MacArthur said. “RobbJack appreciates that Sierra College CACT it possible to connect with teachers interested in bringing applied mathematics into the classroom so students make connections between what they are learning and future manufacturing careers.”