Lodi NJ High School Unveils New STEM Tech Labs


Two new state-of-the-art science and technology classrooms, each priced at $1 million, will provide high school students in Lodi with experience in medicine, engineering and construction technology.

Lodi High School’s “STEM labs,” officially unveiled this month after a year-long delay caused by the pandemic, will also help the district retain students by remaining educationally competitive.

The biomedical and exercise science lab is equipped with life-size mannequins that display real medical symptoms, virtual reality goggles that simulate treatment, and blood pressure monitors. There are also beep vital signs monitors installed in a hospital type environment with a curtained triage area. The engineering and construction laboratory is equipped with power tools, computer-controlled lathes, laser engravers and 3D printers.

At the unveiling, high school student Shaniya Richberg held up the model’s right arm and instructed visitors on how to take a pulse and hook up a patient to an IV to draw a blood sample.

Yulianne Walker-Caban, a junior, used the manikin to demonstrate how to intubate a patient.

Students, teachers and administrators were on hand to help Lodi High School unveil two new STEM labs in April 2022.

Visitors took a deep breath, then burst out laughing when the model coughed loudly.

“I’ve never had anyone rush out of here. It’s a lot of fun,” said one of the teachers.

Five students, three in training to become emergency medical technicians and two from the pre-medical club, toured the hall and its facilities. A sixth student followed with a pole-mounted camera, recording the events. The high school chickens could be seen pecking in a lawn in front of the lab window.

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High school juniors and seniors take courses that include “principles of biomedical science” and the “dynamics of health care delivery” in the laboratory. Younger students get a taste of what it’s like to work in healthcare by joining the Pre-Medical Club, which meets in the lab. Second-year students can take a “survey” course as an introduction to the school’s pre-medical academic stream.

A few classrooms down the hall was the Engineering and Construction Technology Laboratory, a room bathed in daylight from large picture windows overlooking the rooftops and houses of the neighborhood and an open ceiling where the pipes of HVAC are painted in orange and blue, the colors of the school.

There, a team of juniors showed off their “rapid prototyping” skills using a 3D printer and a robot that chased and then picked up a 3D printed orange cube on the floor – a project that earned them second place in a northeast regional robotics competition “First Tech Challenge”.

It was a “show and tell” for teenagers interested in doing things.

The engineering and construction lab’s professional-grade machines can be used to create vinyl posters for school signage and lettering and crests for student navy uniform t-shirts, products comply with real world production standards.

The high school typically obtains its posters for school events and merchandise for school pride from local vendors. Some of that work will now be done in-house, said school principal Frank D’Amico. The experience will allow students to see their creations put into practice while generating savings for the school.

There will be fundraising opportunities for talented students to sell their designs in the future, said engineering professor Errol Bareiss, whose proud object was a beautiful, lab-built and finished engraved wooden clock. using his biggest machine – a digital “mill” that uses a drill and downdraft table to create patterns on wood while collecting chips in a giant bag.

Lodi High School students showcase features of two new STEM labs unveiled in April 2022.

The project to design STEM-focused labs was born out of a need to train students for career paths in the most competitive fields.

“It was to stay relevant with the areas that students wanted to pursue,” D’Amico said.

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The labs were also designed as an efficient way to utilize space. The school’s carpentry shop, which closed in the 1990s, was used to provide space for the growing number of students who wanted careers in science and technology and joined robotics clubs and rocket ship.

District officials hope the new labs, designed to provide a holistic high school experience, will help the school retain more of its students who would traditionally leave to attend Bergen County Technical School, a magnet school in Teterboro, La Bergen Arts and Sciences Charter School, area private schools and Bergen County Academies, a tuition-free public high school in Hackensack that offers career-focused specialty programs, Superintendent Douglas said Petty.

Middle school students in the city were invited to visit the laboratories during the summer in order to highlight the resources available in the public high school.

Lodi High School students and staff help unveil two new STEM labs in April 2022.

D’Amico said he visited similar labs at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a high school in Madison. Architecture firm E|N|V was contracted to design, renovate and build the labs, which were completed in 2018 and 2020.

The biomedical lab cost $1.03 million and the engineering/construction technology lab cost $1.15 million. The projects were funded from the district’s capital reserves, Petty said.

“A lot of things seem magical. For example, how do you get this clipboard, where does it come from? It’s just magic. It just pops up in the store and you get it,” Bareiss said.

“We go through projects where they [the students] have to do them. They have to see – ‘Oh, there are three screws here, why are there three screws here? Well, because I built it with two screws and it broke. So, now I know, why everything is built like that, and how it fits together. And how, everything is connected,” Bareiss said.

Bareiss, who said his father was a blacksmith, loved robotics as a high school student and worked with machines and different media for years. He’s wearing a bow tie he carved out of redwood. This bow tie caught D’Amico’s eye at a job fair in 2018 when the school was looking for a teacher to lead the lab. Soon after, he offered the job to Bareiss.

During the 2020 school year, when the lab was full but not open to students due to pandemic restrictions, Bareiss took advantage of the delay to learn how to use the laser cutter, resin printers, and even the latest iteration. 3D printers.

Students inevitably face “many points of failure” when working with the machines, Bareiss said, but that’s the goal of hands-on learning and exploration. “Failure only reduces what is right,” he said.

“You can also shape a student’s career goal with their experiences,” said science teacher Theo Hansen, simply by introducing students to new possibilities.

Mary Ann Koruth covers education for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to the latest news about New Jersey schools and their impact on your children, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: koruthm@northjersey.com

Twitter: @MaryAnnKoruth


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