PRESCOTT – Teacher Mike Thomley and the STEM students at Prescott Middle School rose to the challenge when they were tasked with creating 40 bluebird houses for local visitor center Freedom …
PRESCOTT – Teacher Mike Thomley and the STEM students at Prescott Middle School rose to the challenge when they were tasked with creating 40 bluebird houses for local visitor center Freedom Park, raising $400 in proceeds which was donated back to the classroom Friday.
The making of the birdhouses went along with a program the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin put on at Freedom Park.
With 27 students contributing to the making of the 40 birdhouses for Freedom Park, and about 150 students making birdhouses in general through Thomley’s program, this has been no small operation.
Thomley said the students start off with the basics of measuring, and ultimately work their way up to using the power tools to create their projects.
“Birdhouse is an easy one to start with because all the plans are out there,” Thomley said. “They can find them online; they can print them out and follow them.”
Freedom Park Operations Director Linda Schenk appreciates the partnership Freedom Park has with the school because not only did the birdhouses help support the restoration program, but it allowed Freedom Park a way to give back to the school.
“I love the partnership because we get to support the school, and so by giving this money back to these guys, now they can invest in their programs,” Schenk said.
In addition to birdhouses, students in Thomley’s classes can be seen making a variety of other projects such as coffee tables, nightstands and stools.
All the wood used in Thomley’s class is donated from the community. Because of this, Thomley can allow students to start projects of their choosing without them having to worry about making a mistake.
“You have to be willing to learn new things and be willing to fail at them,” student Avery Braun said.
A focus for Thomley has been to keep the girls in his program in STEM as long as he can. While some areas of STEM can be male-dominated, Thomley knows there are plenty of capable girls, and he wants to help change the narrative.
“Right now is where I start to lose them, or we start to lose them in this field,” Thomley said. “There are some talented ladies that can do some talented work, and at this time is when we get that separation from the boys and girls, and it doesn’t have to happen yet.”
One reason that students want to remain in STEM was shared throughout a group of students in Thomley’s class, as the students agreed that the finished product makes the process even more satisfying.
“I like showing my family what I get to make in STEM class, and that’s what makes me keep wanting to do it,” Aubree Kellogg said.