Mr. Jeff Major - Middle School Technology & Engineering
What an exciting time to be teaching and learning!
I know there are many who see teaching this year as one big giant ball of arrrrrggh, but there are definitely more interesting ways to look at things. The way I see it, with distance learning, hybrid learning, balancing entire virtual classrooms, connectivity issues, etc. there are no shortage of intensely complicated issues that face all of us in education….but this is why the situation is remarkable for me. As a STEM teacher with nearly 20 years of teaching K-12 students all over San Diego County schools, one of my greatest passions in education has always centered around problem solving and empowering my students with the skills to problem solve. It is not that interesting that things like a global pandemic occur. What is interesting is how we choose to react and handle the challenges at hand! So, I welcome you one and all into my physical and virtual classroom walls for some very cool problem solving.
A bit about me…
I have B.A. in Applied Physics from SDSU and an M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership from the HTH Graduate School of Ed. I love inspiring students to apply their STEM skills to solve real problems for themselves and the community at large. I have led outdoor education field studies that include night snorkeling at Catalina Island, Rock Climbing and Astronomy sessions at Joshua Tree NP, and extended camping and hiking adventures at Yosemite NP. Unbelievable as it sounds, I was super excited to have designed a week long cycling adventure through the heart of Tuscany, Italy ….with 34 students! I teach students to appreciate the full cycle of things like: composting their school waste with the help of wriggly redworms– using their compost to grow vegetables of noble birth – using their harvest to achieve culinary prowess that would make Anthony Bourdain shed a tear. There are many cycles to learn in STEM and we will do our best to explore and understand as many as we can. I provide Color Commentary at an International level for educational robotics and have brought many students to compete at the international level as well. In 2017 I co-founded and the Director of Training for a nonprofit that provides curriculum and PD for underserved K-8 communities throughout San Diego and beyond.
Some of my hopes for my students…
I would like all of my students to have a baseline mastery of a broad range of robotics skills: programming in the C language, mechanical engineering simple robotics effectors, electrical engineering a variety of digital and analog sensors, and of course sprinklings of Newtonian physics over the whole lot!
I would like all of my students to have strong engineering skills to prototype, design and test, observe and analyze performance, change designs based upon their findings, and repeat until we run out time, resources or both!
Tech is nice, tech. is cool, but in the end it’s really just a tool. We teach our students to be masters of technology and not the other way around. To that end though, it is my firm belief that there is no point in pursuing high tech if we have not mastered low tech. Paper and pencil reign supreme! We will learn how to safely use hand tools like saws and hammers, electrical tools like soldering irons and multimeters, and a cornucopia of apps and gadgets to enhance our STEM learning.