Arguably one of Hammond's preeminent signature programs, Early Tech Week will celebrate 30 years next month. A rite of passage for fifth grade students, the weeklong program provides hands-on experience exploring how our ancestors created primitive technology through various early techniques. Students spend each day outside under the direction of nationally recognized early technologists including Naturalist-in-Residence Tom Mancke learning techniques with burn and scrape tools, flint and cordage necklaces, deer-foot tool kits, and other early technology skills.
These are the earliest of STEAM initiatives, employed by those who came before us. Early Tech Week allows us to expand the classroom to the natural world, while connecting both primitive and modern technology.
Conceived of and developed by former fifth-grade teacher, René Bickley, and Tom Mancke, the program quickly grew from a two-day experience to the most highly anticipated week in the fifth grade year.
“We’re creating spaces for students to discover smart tools, 3D printers, and laser cutters,” said Mancke. "By contrast, Early Technology Week is a unique opportunity for students to discover primitive technologies that are vastly different, yet in many ways quite similar. This weeklong ‘outdoor lab’ gives them the chance to explore their relationship with the natural world.”