Railroad operations provide a wealth of educational opportunities with science, technology, engineering, and math (S.T.E.M.) as well as history. STEM has a stronghold in Northeast Indiana, which has the highest concentrations of NewTech schools in the country.
With special opportunities for middle and high school age curriculums, Headwaters Junction provides a hands-on environment for skills and knowledge application. With education outreach programs, ordinary field trips become immersive learning experiences and more challenging project based learning activities can be centered around many aspects of railroad operations – both modern and historic. Students will endeavor to design, rebuild, and implement locomotive components, solve operational and transportation logistics, understand the physics at work in a 1:1 railroad environment, and apply steam power to create energy, horsepower, and and electricity. These experiences will be patterned off of NewTech and regional high school curriculums.
For adult students and career centers, the dual function of shop facilities as classrooms enables the practical application of learned skills in a workplace setting, allowing students learning opportunities in metal working, fabrication, and machining. Apprenticeships and training of this nature can strengthen the adult workforce and impart new skills in students of all ages.
One of the significant educational outreach programs will take place during Railcamp where for one week high school students from around the country and the region will live, work, and breathe railroading as they lay track, operate trains, work in the backshop, learn new skills and trades, discover the history and science behind the country’s greatest industry, and most importantly: have fun. In addition to getting hands on access to the railroad, students will also visit local attractions and tourist destinations and visit neighboring railroad facilities.