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Belle Fourche middle school students participate in a "Technology Challenge" at BHSU

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Approximately 25 middle school students from Belle Fourche participated recently in a Technology Challenge on the Black Hills State University campus. The students were required to build a hot air balloon and a collision proof box. All construction was done in teams and on site to help level the playing field.

Approximately 25 middle school students from Belle Fourche participated recently in a Technology Challenge on the Black Hills State University campus.

The Technology Challenge, hosted by the Industrial Technology program at BHSU, promoted the use of problem-solving skills and the development of hands-on skills.

The students were required to build a hot air balloon and a collision proof box. The box housed an egg that was dropped from a third story window of Woodburn Hall; all but one endured the collision. All construction was done in teams and on site, which promoted planning as the students prepared for the day of competition. It also allowed for "leveling of the playing field" as all students were given the same amount of materials and the same time to build.

According to Tom Termes, assistant professor of technology at BHSU, the hot air balloons flew very well, and the use of tissue paper allowed the creation of some extraordinarily beautiful balloons. The students found the activities fun, and as a result, they took the problem-solving activity seriously. 

“The balloons were filled with hot air using propane like full sized hot air balloons. There were about a dozen balloons built and as each flight began there was a huge cheer from the student observers,” said Termes.

Black Hills State University, which offers the only industrial technology program in the state and region, is moving the program to Rapid City this fall and has plans to expand into the Sioux Falls region in the future.

There are several options for industrial technology degrees at BHSU. The composite major includes a core set of courses taught by BHSU faculty and requires students to complete one of six specializations: construction technology; communications technology-multimedia, technology management, electronics technology; computer aided drafting technology; and geographic information systems technology.

Students also have the option of pursuing an industrial technology education degree which prepares them to teach at the secondary level. Monty Robinson, assistant professor of technology at BHSU, notes that some students are choosing this option even though they are not planning to actually teach in a classroom setting. These graduates have found that employers are often seeking trainers and the education background gives them the opportunity to teach others in industry.

A bachelor of applied technical science degree is available for students who transfer from a technical institute. This degree is offered with options in general supervision and general technology. BHSU also offers an associate degree in industrial technology.

 

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