Lezlie Sterling / lsterling@sacbee.com

Sacramento State engineering student Marcos Navarro, left, helps Highland High School student Katelyn Douglas as she illuminates her model car with her cellphone during a brief power outage Friday in her physics class. The cars help illustrate mechanical principles.

Sacramento State engineering students help out with Highlands High physics class

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3B

Sacramento State's Hornet Racing Team turned a physics lesson about building miniature cars from gears, axles, and electric motors into an unforgettable experience for some Highlands High School physics students on Friday.

A group of about 25 juniors and seniors in Dan Sisneros' physics class received hands-on guidance from the group of college engineering majors in building the cars and manipulating the placement of gears to propel them up a 30-degree slope.

Several members of the Hornet Racing Team, also known as Formula SAE Sac State, assisted groups of about three students for a class period, helping them reach their goal of building a car.

The Hornet Racing Team's presence was an opportunity to expose high school students to what they might like to study in college, Sisneros said.

Marcos Navarro, a member of the Hornet Racing Team and a Highlands High School alumnus who helped organize the workshop in his former teacher's classroom, said he is excited about the advancements Highland High has made in the so-called STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He said it's important that he is able to guide high school students toward college.

"There's so many things I would like to tell them," he said, though he was trying not to sound too much like a teacher in his guidance.

Students like Patrick Ruiz, who is a Highlands senior, found satisfaction from the work he does with physics and may study engineering in college.

"It's rewarding; you feel good about the work that you do," he said.

To show students how far basic physics concepts can go, the team plans to return to Sisneros' physics class on Friday to show students the race car they built from scratch this year.

For Navarro, it's important that high school students know that working in the STEM fields is an attainable goal.

"You can get involved in STEM. It doesn't take a genius, and it shouldn't."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Vanessa Walker



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