By Eduardo Saavedra
Executive Vice President of Business Development
The Offshore Group
Guaymas, Sonora is a small coastal Mexico manufacturing city situated in the country’s Northwest region. It is home to 150,000 inhabitants, and is host to one of the largest clusters of world class Mexican aerospace precision machining operations in the Republic. Although every major aerospace OEM knows about Guaymas, and its growing Mexico aerospace manufacturing acumen, few know that this manufacturing haven is proactively training a current and future workforce of precision aerospace machinists.
A new and practical way of teaching mathematics has recently been introduced to junior high school teachers and students in Guaymas. The method is called metromatematicas or “metromathematics.” Its goal is to give teachers and students real world problems to solve using applied mathematics in classrooms. These classrooms, however, are more akin to metrology laboratories that might be found in some of the more advanced Mexico manufacturing facilities than the traditional classroom.
While “on the job,” the teachers and students dress for the occasion each day they go to class. Everyone’s attire consists of long white lab coats. Dressing in this manner imbues a sense of professionalism in the participants, and gives the students’ parents a feeling of pride that their early teenagers are on a path to finding a great job in the growing Mexico aerospace industry.
Metromathematics was conceived by Nahum Correa. He is the owner of an authorized Mitutoyo equipment and machinery distributorship located in Sonora, Mexico’s capital city of Hermosillo. With financial and infrastructure support provided by The Offshore Group, Mr. Correa has graduated 70 junior high school teachers and 140 junior high school students from the program in a short 18 months. Mexico aerospace manufacturers in the Guaymas area provide real parts and raw materials for machining and teachers use those parts along with metrology equipment such as calipers and coordinate measuring equipment (CMM's) to understand tolerance requirements used in the emerging Mexico aerospace industry. The math being taught is immediately relevant. This captivates the attention of both the students and the teachers. The result of this “real world” feel is that class time flies by. As one might expect, there is zero student absenteeism. Everyone shows up. All of the teaching conforms to the international standards of ISO/IEC 17025:2005.
One special feature of the program is the “tournaments” that are held periodically among teachers and students. The contests consist of solving challenging problems using newly acquired math skills. Winners get trophies and receive great distinction from their peers for their accomplishment. At the end of the program, all the graduates proudly parade through downtown Guaymas with banners, flags, to the accompaniment of local school bands. The parade makes the winners, as well as the rest of the students, feel great pride as their family and friends celebrate their victory in public.
When these students enter high school and college math programs, they will already have a superior academic foundation, a fearless attitude towards mathematical problem solving, and a level of comfort that will be conducive to exercising greater creativity in related subjects. The logical result will be higher skilled and more competent engineers and scientists than those produced by traditional math class room programs and teaching environments and methods. These educated youth will be prepared to take their place in a Mexico aerospace industry that is growing by the year.