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RJG, Key Up Education Offer One-of-a-Kind Third-Grade Field Trips

Custom trips to injection molding lab allow students to connect classroom work to real world

Plastics Business

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RJG and Key Up Education hosted a one-of-a-kind educational field trip for 42 third-grade students from Sylvan Elementary on May 4 at RJG’s Gibsonville, North Carolina, training center. The goal was to incorporate math and science skills the students are learning in class and show how they are used in a real-world setting through hands-on activities and problem-solving.

What makes these field trips unique is that RJG and Key Up Education communicate with the teachers beforehand and create custom activities to reflect the class’s current curriculum. The day is targeted directly at what the teacher’s content is in the classroom and adjusted to anything they want them to focus on — it is a day designed around what the kids need more exposure to.

“The students get to see how the injection molding process produces their video game consoles, smartphones and automobile components,” said Marty Key, trainer/consultant at RJG. “In turn, we get to see them make the connection between the math used in injection molding and the math they are learning in class.”

“(It was) the best field trip ever because it was about real work,” said Robert Hillard, a student who attended the event.

The goal of the field trips is two-fold: 1. to show students at a young age how what they’re learning in school applies to the real world and get them excited about math and science, and 2. to plant a seed so hopefully more students will consider a career in manufacturing to help bridge the skills gap the industry is facing.

“We often have to fight the misconception that manufacturing is done in a dark and dirty environment and involves repetitive manual labor,” said Key.

“I thought the connection between math and real work was meaningful to the students; plus, they learned about behaviors needed to succeed in the business world like greetings, shaking hands, etc. that will come in handy on that first job interview,” said Sarah Farrell, teacher at Sylvan Elementary.

During a classroom visit before the field trip, students learn about appropriate attire and practice their handshaking skills with other students so they are ready to use them with technicians and visitors once they arrive at RJG. Once at the facility, they then take a tour to see running machines, molds, vacuums, plastic pellets and more.

Students also get to:

  • See and touch pieces from the inside of an injection molding machine such as a screw, samples of plastic and the mold.
  • Solve math problems that tied into what they saw on the floor.
  • Create puzzle pieces on the machines, then build cubes out of them to see a part from pellets to completion.

“Watching our friends from Sylvan explore the areas of engineering and math in a way that resulted in wide eyes and big smiles validates the importance of what we do and why we do it,” said Mary Key, founder of Key Up Education. “The day is all about creating a real-world experience for students that fuses targeted classroom instruction with an exciting real-world experience.”

“Seeing these students come to our facility and leave excited about manufacturing is very rewarding — it’s hard not to look forward to the contributions they will make in the future,” said Marty Key.

The events are made possible by RJG, ZAG Equipment Sales, Fordham Plastics and Key Up Education. Anyone who is interested in participating in a class field trip, please contact Mary Key at Mary.Key@KeyUpEd.com.

To learn more about RJG, Inc., visit http://www.rjginc.com. To learn more about Key Up Education, visit http://www.keyuped.com.