Technical Education Post

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Rochester Community Schools to Further STEM Education with Computer Numerical Control Machine

By Andrea Peck
Photo caption: Rochester High School design and technology teacher Tim Lewis works with a student in the lab. Photo provided by Rochester Community Schools

The Rochester Community Schools Foundation awarded more than $9,000 to purchase a computer numerical control machine for STEM education in the school district.

The device is used by students throughout the district to learn engineering, architecture, woodworking, computer-aided design and computer programming.

“Our high school engineering, architecture and woodworking classes are gaining technical experience and programming skills, using the real-life applications of the CNC machine and its related software,” said Tim Lewis, Rochester High School design and technology teacher. “STEM education and related tools like this help create a hybrid, cross-curricular approach to learning. Students are excited to watch their work come to life.”

Students begin by creating a computer design that gets converted into coordinates. The cutting spindle on the CNC machine moves to various positions, shapes and depths, as directed by the coding instructions. These processes combine to create two- and three-dimensional patterns out of wood, metal or plastic. The system has applications in manufacturing, parts fabrication, milling, engineering and engraving.

“It is exciting to see our students and educators directly engaged in problem-based learning. They are creating, building, collaborating and discovering together,” said Carrie Lawler, assistant superintendent of secondary education, equity and inclusion. “These important skills are valuable both personally and professionally.”

The Rochester Community Schools Foundation, a nonprofit organization, funded the CNC machine purchase with a teacher grant, established to enhance educational opportunities that support the district’s strategic plan and directly impact student learning.

For more information on becoming a donor to support the RCS Foundation, visit the website at

Tom Shaw

Technical Education Post, Online Publisher

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