NORMAN — Students in Alcott Middle School's pre-engineering and skills classes got a firsthand look at the world of manufacturing Wednesday when the Moore Norman Technology Center brought a METS Mobile Learning Lab to campus.
METS, which stands for Manufacturing Education Training System, is a mobile skills lab developed by Pioneer Technology Center in Ponca City. It contains working milling machines that manufacture metal parts, a 3-D Rapid Prototype machine and equipment to demonstrate welding, auto service and collision technology, among other things.
The 18-wheel tractor-trailer rig features 10 computer workstations with three-dimensional computer-assisted design software and a computer numerical control mill.
Alcott teacher Brian Twomey used the METS visit as part of his Gateway to Technology/Pre-Engineering program to help students understand the value of math and science in the workplace and attract attention to the engineering and manufacturing industries.
“The METS trailer gives middle school-age students the opportunity to see the manufacturing and fabrication process in action,” Twomey said. “At their age, they probably haven't experienced the process of something being made. They just see it in the store without thinking about the fact that it had to be designed, engineered and built.”
Twomey's classes are the first in a series of pre-engineering classes available to Norman Public Schools students.
In high school, students attending either Norman High or Norman North High School can apply for admission to Moore Norman Technology Center's pre-engineering program, which is a collaborative effort between the center and Norman Public Schools.