3M recently announced it teamed up with Partnership for Innovation in Education (PIE), a non-profit group that encourages case-based learning to give students a better understanding of how science relates to everyday tasks and future job opportunities. 3M Milford plant engineers captured the attention of more than 600 sixth graders by creating a technical dilemma to determine what type of material should be used for a bandage, wrap or brace. Students had to test different variables such as the absorption rate and moisture dispersion of the sample fabrics.

“The students were able to see how this case-based study approach related to real life and related to careers too, such as product development, engineering, and technological careers,” said Heather Wahlert, sixth grade math and science teacher at Seipelt Elementary School. “Working with 3M Milford engineers enlightened students to so many career paths they never thought about before.”

“Case-based learning is about experiences, defining, analyzing, researching and giving a solution,” said Mary Welsh Schlueter, CEO of PIE. “But until now, there hasn’t been any content out there that allows K-12 students a chance to solve real problems. We want to change that.”

“The chance to work with these students gives us a better opportunity to expose them to STEM fields at an early age,” said Don Barnes, Human Resources manager for 3M Milford. “It’s a core mission of ours to give back to the local community and schools, and this is a great way to do a lot of good for kids.”

For more information, visit www.3M.com.