MAKING technical employees requires providing students with opportunities to MAKE connections with workforce skills, math concepts, science concepts and a MAKER'S mentality. Join us for a hands-on look into the Pathways to a Technical Future learning style designed to prepare all students for a technical future!


Pathways Introduction

Pathway: Pathways Teacher Training

Through the Pathways to a Technical Future program, students will gain knowledge while acquiring practical skills and expertise that will enable them to be successful in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce. Students will learn through experiences directly tied to academic requirements and Public Power practices.

Rules of Engagement

To be successful integrating Pathways to a Technical Future learning styles you need to adopt the following rules of engagement!

Engineering Design Notebook

A foldable personal engineering design notebook

Foundation Graphic

The Foundation of Knowledge: a platform upon which all future success is built.

Challenge #1: Name 10 parts of a substation

Challenge #2: Define electrical resistance in your own words or with a drawing

Analog Graphic

Analog / Physical Domain: A continuously variable physical quantity.

Challenge #1: Experience "load" with a hand generator circuit

Digital Graphic

The Digital World - through a binary nature.

Challenge #1: Read this statement -

"There are 10 types of teachers in this world . . . those who know binary and those who don't"

Challenge #2: Tweet a photo or a video of a teacher solving the PWM challenge


Logic Graphic

The Logic Universe: The science of reasoning

Challenge #1: CargoBot

Data graphic

The Data Matrix: Something from which another generates

Challenge #1: Observing the world around you

Innovation graphic

Innovation: The IMPLEMENTATION of new IDEAS!

Challenge #1: STEM Lab Exploration & Discovery


Implementation Pyramid

Pathway: Pathways Teacher Training

So how do we develop this monumental process? Easy, identify who can help and provide them with the resources necessary to make this happen in their own backyards. Teachers are our best allies to influence students. We needed a way to show teachers how public power is the answer to that dreaded question “When will I ever use this?”

Implementation Pyramid

The world is abuzz with this concept of Makerspaces. Gather some tools and let people make stuff seemed to be a great practice to replicate. Unfortunately not everyone can afford the time, space, or money necessary for a full blown makerspace. The Pathways program developed a six stage pyramid of implementation as a model for implementing these ideas on any budget.

Nuclear Refueling Challenge

Rules and layout for the Nuclear Refueling Challenge

Engineering Week

Anselmo-Merna Example


MAKE It: Resources

Pathway: Pathways Teacher Training

Web links etc.

MAKER Resources

Here are a few of the sites that we utilize when we MAKE!

STEM Lab Shopping Guide

Here are the links to the resources included in NPPD's STEM Connections Lab

STEM Connection Lab
Item NameURLUnit CostNumber of UnitsTotal Estimated CostActual CostQuestions/Comments
Afinia H800 3d Printer

Sparkfun Inventors Kit Lab Pack$1,100.001$1,100.00$0.00Previously Purchased
Carvey CNC mill

$1999.001$1,999.00$2,267.98Ordered 10/30/15
SEEK Thermal XR for iOS

Smart Home Kit$249.004$996.00$1,025.95Received / added an additional Photon kit from sparkfun
Bare Conductive Classroom Pack$104.952$209.90>>received / Not worth the money
Lilly Pad lab Pack$600.001$600.00>>received
Sparkfun Sensor Kit$139.952$279.90>>Received
Sparkfun Redboard$19.954$79.80$1,064.65Received
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit

Roland GX-24 Vinyl Cutter

$1295.001$1,295.00$1,750.73Received / would just get a smaller version for a new lab
Windows Laptops — Defer to IT Department for Purchasing — $800.008$6,400.00$4,400.00Received
Sphero Robot


$339.004$1,356.00$848.68Received / after a few months replaced with mBots
Double Mobility Robot

iPad Air 2


$49.954$199.80$0.00Previously Purchased
6x8’ Cargo Trailer — Defer to Fleet for Purchasing — $4000.001$4,000.00$3,199.00Received
Additional equipment— power strips, aligator clips, containers etc.$2500.001$2,500.00$2,987.00Received
Voxel8 3d printer with conductivity


MAKE It: Procedures

Pathway: Pathways Teacher Training

Engineering Design Process & the use of engineering notebooks

Engineering Design Process

Ask. Imagine. Plan. Create. Test. Improve.

Engineering Notebook Example

Engineering notebooks are essential in many technical careers. 

Engineering Design Notebook

A foldable personal engineering design notebook


MAKE It: Examples

Pathway: Pathways Teacher Training

6 ways schools are making Makers

Shoebox MakerSpace

The shoebox makerspace provides opportunities for multi-disciplinary making. Each activity can have focused content such as learning the metric system or in the case of the newest challenge – Make anything that tells the story of the conflict in your current novel from the reading groups. This activity demonstrates the importance of making connections, applying skills in different areas, and that the engineering design process can bring fiction to life!

York - Technical Math

This course begins the development of math skills for success in specific vocational/technical fields.  Major emphasis is placed on problem solving and actual on-the-job applications

-- Technical Math Course Syllabus

Here is the York Technical Math Syllabus

Maker Fair - Cozad

Over the course of two days, all staff and multiple community members teach 45+ different courses.  The courses range in length from a half day, to full day, and even some two-day courses.  Fun activities are also offered over the lunch periods. Students are given the opportunity to select the classes that spark an interest.  They are then placed in these classes based on availability.  

-- Maker Fair Schedule

Here is the entire schedule for the Cozad Maker Fair

Engineering Week - Anselmo/Merna

Culturing and growing connections between students, schools and area businesses is the ultimate vision of CAPABLE. By developing youth involvement in local economy, they will begin to experience the diversity of career pathways that exist in Custer County. This exposure will develop future-focused youth who, through their relationships with area industry can cultivate job skills that can create a lasting impact in retaining our talented youth to become our future leaders. Growth can only be continued by nurturing what we already have, and today’s youth are tomorrow’s future. 

Wind Lab - Beatrice

Throughout the course of this unit, I watched student engagement increase dramatically! Many students did not know or care about wind energy when we started this unit. By the end of this unit, most students were passionately invested in one of the two sides of this debate. I believe student engagement increased as they were able to connect the broad idea of wind energy directly to their own lives and experiences by using a potential wind farm site so close to our community as a reference point. 

STEM Lab - Bruning/Davenport

It was very exciting to see the "wheels turning" in the heads of those that would just dig in.  It was a great surprise with the two students I had that did just dig in.  These two students are not normally your top students, nor very outgoing students.  They usually have to have a big "push" in order to get things done.  One of the students sat down at the Raspberry Pi station and had it programmed in a half hour, without any help or direction.  This was absolutely amazing to me.  I didn't know this student was capable of that.  We finally found something that "lit a fire under his behind". 


MAKE It: Opportunities

Pathway: Pathways Teacher Training

You are the providers of OPPORTUNITY. 

We can help!

Chad Johnson