manufacturing field trip

Considering your future career is a worthwhile endeavor, even for eighth-grade students. That’s why students at Tecumseh Middle School recently had the chance to observe the operations of local manufacturing companies directly and grasp their impact on everyday life.

Students toured various manufacturing locations for their manufacturing field trip. In two groups, they visited Ididit, Timbercraft, and Wacker Chemie. Ididit and Timbercraft are based in Tecumseh, while Wacker is in Adrian. During lunch, the students and their chaperones visited County National Bank. Representatives from the bank emphasized the significance of effective money management in achieving financial goals.

Participating in Eryn Stamper and Jon Way’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) classes, these students engage in an innovative project-based learning program integrating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Each company provides a unique perspective on manufacturing, aligning with the Project Lead the Way model.

"We take great pride in the positive trajectory of our program. It's truly gratifying to translate the career connections discussed in our lessons into real, hands-on experiences for our students at local businesses,” said PLTW teacher Eryn Stamper. “In this field trip, we emphasized bringing students who have shown an interest in the manufacturing field."

In a packed schedule, students were divided into two groups, each assigned to specific locations and then rotating between spots. The first two stops were Ididit and Timbercraft. Ididit, an auto parts manufacturer, was an excellent spot for students to gain insight into their products built in Tecumseh. With a legacy of over 30 years, the company has been crafting steering columns and various accessories tailored for hot rod and muscle car enthusiasts.

At Timbercraft, students delved into the construction and engineering aspects of timber framing. Timbercraft integrates heavy timber into various projects, encompassing custom homes, commercial buildings, pavilions, barns, and more.

After lunch and a financial lesson at County National Bank, students headed to Wacker. The company is widely recognized as a technological frontrunner in the chemical industry, producing goods for essential global sectors. The company operates in silicone, polymer, life sciences, and polysilicon markets. At Wacker, students learned the silicone creation process and its diverse applications. They quickly recognized the pervasive presence of silicone in their daily lives, as it features prominently in numerous everyday products. 

The students could witness mechanical, electrical, computer, robotic systems, and various equipment in action. They also observed engineers, technicians, and operators responsible for maintaining and operating these systems.

"As an educator, witnessing our students engage positively with community members and local businesses is consistently fulfilling,” said PLTW teacher Jon Way. “It's truly remarkable when our students pose insightful questions that leave a lasting impression on community members, prompting invitations for return visits. This extends the valuable experience and opportunities to future classes, making it a special and rewarding moment."

In addition to the supervision of Eryn Stamper and Jon Way during the field trip, Dennis Chambo and Ron Publiski, members of the Kiwanis Club of Tecumseh, served as chaperones, offering guidance to the students.

On the topic of the Kiwanis Club, we extend a special thank you to Mary Tommelein, Secretary of the TPS Board of Education, for her assistance in arranging the locations for the manufacturing field trip.

“The Board of Education considers opportunities like this a crucial aspect of our students’ education. Such tours align with our overarching strategic plan,” added Tommelein. “Tecumseh is fortunate to have a community where businesses are willing to go above and beyond to enhance the classroom experience.”

We thank the Wacker, Ididit, Timbercraft, and County National Bank teams for graciously hosting our students, staff, and volunteers. A special appreciation goes to the Kiwanis Club of Tecumseh for their valuable assistance in coordinating this fantastic manufacturing field trip.