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  • Addressing the Class

    Recently, my twin granddaughter’s third grade classes were doing a unit on the concept of time. One of the girls remarked that her grandpa built clocks, so the teacher got in touch with me and prevailed on me to bring in some examples and speak to the classes about them.

    Along with the clocks, I brought some demonstration models of meshing gears mounted on aluminum plates to pass around while I spoke, and a printed copy of my Author’s Biography (see next post) for the teacher to read as an introduction.
    The teacher had allotted about 40 minutes, but the kids demonstrated such interest and had so many good questions that the session lasted well over an hour.

    There were several other teachers or aids or parents – I don’t know exactly, present. While the kids were filing past the clocks for a closer look, one lady, a mother of an autistic boy, asked if she could pay me to build a gear demonstrator for her son, as she thought he would enjoy such a thing and it might help him. Indeed I would, and I would take pay, but it wouldn’t be too much.
    While I was packing up after the presentation, a little girl came up to me and handed me a note. It simply said …”Thank You.”
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

  • #2
    I post this here so not to clutter the original post. The teacher read this to the class, adding her own excellent explanations and comments. I welcomed her comments, as she rephrased things better in a way that a third grader could understand. The introduction answered some questions beforehand, but gave the kids reasons for more questions.

    Author’s Biography

    Weston Bye, born in 1950, in the industrial city of Flint Michigan, has always been intrigued by mechanical and electrical devices. As a child, he often suffered the consequences of his curiosity, as did his toys and his father’s watches. Growing up in a family that worked an excavating business, he was given free run of the repair shops, equipment yard and jobsites, and learned the mechanical workings of the machinery and the tools of the trade.
    Weston began drawing linkages and gear trains, imagining what he might build someday. His mother recognized some talent in his drawing, if not the devices they represented, and encouraged him to continue to draw and explore the arts.
    In school, Weston was an indifferent student, preferring to daydream and imagine, or draw mechanisms, objects or electronic circuits while in the classes that did not interest him. He did, however, excel in the industrial and fine arts classes. While still in school, he recognized the useful nature of electromechanical devices, and began teaching himself electronics.
    Enlisting in the U.S. Navy, Weston graduated with commendations from the Navy Avionics A School, the extent of his formal education. He was assigned to maintain and repair an aging airborne inertial navigation and radar system, a blend of early electrical and electronic computer circuits and mechanical linkages, gears and devices that further fueled his imagination.
    After the Navy, a succession of jobs dealing with electronic and electromechanical devices added to Weston’s experience and understanding, and eventually led him to learn the machining arts in order to create the mechanical parts that he previously could only imagine.
    Along the way, Weston began to write, and after submitting a few articles on electromechanical devices to The Home Shop Machinist and Digital Machinist magazines, he was asked to write a regular column, The Mechatronist, and is now a Contributing Editor to Digital Machinist magazine, with over thirty articles in print.
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

    Comment


    • #3
      Weston,

      Outstanding .....

      It is so great to hear things like this. Kids today need attention and encouragement to advance. People like you make the world continue to spin without wobbles.

      Great Job;
      Robin
      Robin

      Happily working on my second million Gave up on the first

      Comment


      • #4
        You've made your grand daughter a day which she will remember and be proud of, always.

        For helping the lady with her autistic boy, send me the bill. And compliment the teacher and the parents of the girl who wrote the 'Thank You' note.

        --G

        Comment


        • #5
          Weston,
          Why didn't you just give her one of the demonstration models ?

          I know I would have done but then again I wasn't there.
          .

          Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



          Comment


          • #6
            Such a nice story, i for one am sick of the news, none of it good, its about time we got to find something good in the world instead of bloody war and murder, we complain about the kids of today forgetting they were brought into a world we made
            Mark

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by John Stevenson View Post
              Weston,
              Why didn't you just give her one of the demonstration models ?

              I know I would have done but then again I wasn't there.
              In truth John, it never occurred to me, but I think I want to make an improved model with a little more visual intrest - without making it look like a toy. Later today I will post photos of the models.
              Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
              ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

              Comment


              • #8
                Nice work , Wes. Bob.

                Comment


                • #9
                  very cool, nothing like a good teacher or people who enlighten kids in the right direction,,, the closest any of us will ever come to immortality... Well done Wes, and yes bet your G.daughters are beaming with pride...

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                  • #10
                    'Giving it back' the best way possible Weston!
                    Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                    Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                    Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                    Monarch 10EE 1942

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As posted some great positive happenings!! Excellent!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here are the models I passed around during the presentation, and the note from the little girl.

                        Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                        ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nice models!
                          Andy

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My own early experiences were somewhat similar to yours. My grandfather had a bunch of old pipe fittings that I played with, and my German grandfather was a metal finisher as well as a maker of animated models in the "Christmas garden". They were powered by a waterwheel and a series of pulleys and belts in the basement that had shafts through the floor where they turned a merry-go-round and other things. My father had been a machinist but mostly he worked in electronics, and he would give me things like resistors and miniature lamps that I would play with. I also had a chemistry set and I would put some things in my lunch box and do "experiments" in school during recess. I built coaster "racers" and robots and other things. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to exercise my imagination and learn with "hands-on" experience. I decided to become a draftsman so I took three years of mechanical drawing in high school, but I now wish I had taken at least a year of machine shop.

                            I applaud your efforts to introduce young people to mechanical and electrical devices. In these days of CADD, simulation, CNC, and 3-D printing, many basic skills and concepts are likely to become rare. And our attitude of just buying something new rather than at least attempting to fix or improve upon something that breaks, contributes to wasted resources, pollution, and inability to analyze and solve problems.
                            http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                            Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                            USA Maryland 21030

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Nice Wes........Very Nice

                              It's what it's all about...

                              I remember at 11 or 12 years old, some men showing off their steam engines..
                              And it stuck !
                              Thanks for the note

                              Rich
                              Green Bay, WI

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