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Scotus Central Catholic and Science in the Community

Published September 30, 2006


The Mechatronics Education Center (MEC) and its staff has worked diligently to help Nebraska high school teachers, business leaders and local manufacturing companies understand new learning opportunities related to the emerging field of Mechatronics. 


For the high school instructional environment, the combination of electrical, mechanical, and information technology systems which converge with the field of Mechatronics provides an excellent foundation for the instruction of a wide range of high school topics within mathematics, science, technology and industrial arts courses. 


The MEC recently offered a summer institute for 15 area high school teachers representing 12 Nebraska school districts.  Teachers spent an intensive week learning about mechatronics, visiting local manufacturing plants, and planning possibilities related to the integration of mechatronics into their high school curriculums.  They found Mechatronics to be a motivating educational platform.


Ms. Jane Dusel-Misfeldt was one of the teachers at the summer institute.  She is a chemistry teacher at Scotus Central High School in Columbus, Nebraska.  Ms. Dusel-Misfeldt was an outstanding participant of the summer MEC institute and used the information she learned about Mechatronics to develop a new science course for her students called “Science in the Community”.  Many of her students are considering going to local colleges and she wanted to continue to spark their interest in that goal, as well as in science in general by using the “high-tech” field of Mechatronics as a motivating context.  Her course is already underway and has an extensive group of business partners contributing both field trips and resource expertise.  The collaborative course involves some of the following topics and businesses. 


Scotus “Science in the Community Class” Topics and Mechatronics Business Collaboration


Topic for class:

Business collaborator (context for discussion):

4 weeks


Behlen (Plastic watering containers for animals and swimming pools)



Behlen (Grain bins, park benches, animal fences, etc.)


Powder Painting

Behlen (Metal buildings of all types)


Computer Control

Behlen (Metal processing that involves cutting and/or punching)

2 weeks


Vishay (Electrical resistors, capacitors, diodes, fuses, etc.)

2 weeks


BD (Medical supplies and their use of pneumatic devices to make needles, etc.)

2 weeks


ADM (Ethanol and corn sweeteners)

2 weeks


FLEXcon (Pressure sensitive film such as labels for bottles and cans)

2 weeks


Columbus Police Station (Using science to solve crimes)

3 weeks

Research project

Students pick one business visited and do an in-depth research report

Ms. Dusel-Misfeldt’s success story was also showcased in a local newspaper (The Columbus Telegram) on August 3, 2006, by staff writer Julie Blum.  The article showcased the MEC and provided additional examples of how the teachers who attended the MEC Summer Institute integrated what they learned into their high school coursework.  Ms. Duesel-Misfeldt’s success story is just one example of the impact that the MEC has had in helping students receive a challenging and motivating education through their awareness of and experience with Mechatronics.

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