I have retired (after 28 yrs.) from teaching creative Engineering and problem solving skills classes.
I taught creative methods of design, problem solving and inventing that I'd developed over 50 years in both Private and Home-schools. I am planning to start a 5th career, no idea doing what at this time.
See Jim's 'Steps for Success' .These are the essential things you need to understand and know to succeed in this ever increasingly complex world of technology. Also read Jim's Bio & Background to see what Ive been able to accomplish using these methods - you can do it to "if you follow Jim's steps above".
I've had students accepted by MIT, SMU, Rice, Texas, Texas Tech & many other top prestigious schools.
This website will be updated as long as people visit it and show an interest. See these favorite videos and others under 'Safe Videos' button:A unique potato cannon with interchangeable barrels to shoot different objects, also Jim's Water Rocket & 650HP Race Car that shows the value of perfection. My careers: 1) After Air Force was a Sr. level Tech at TI and in 4 yrs became a non-degree Engineer at TI. I had a Top-Secret Security Clearance for 10 yrs and worked on the Guidance system of the "Shrike Missile".
2) TI (and the "GI Bill") sent me to SMU and I became a Product Development Research & Design Engineer and Inventor who created original products for many Texas companies.
3) An Automotive Consultant Started a corporation, ACS Inc, helping people to locate, buy and sale foreign, exotic & collector cars in US and Europe. This was a result of my racing background.
4) Engineering Teacher taught Creative Problem Solving & Engr. Skills classes at both Private Schools & Home School associations for 28 years. The classes were designed to give students a head start over their competition by making complex technical concepts easy to understand. I taught the skills they would need to get and keep a job when they graduated from college.
The class projects were designed to help students hone creative application skills and reinforced knowledge and understanding of basic principles. This class taught how to turn head knowledge into original inventions.
The secret of success is to work hard & develop the techniques, ability and skills needed to apply the knowledge you have learned. These things will help you reach your goals as a designer, creative problem solver, inventor or whatever you want to be, not just in Engineering.
RHSA started my career as a teacher and I poured my heart and soul into that school for 28 years. I've stayed to long, have gotten old and tired - now it's time to move on. Thanks to my many students and friends at RHSA, God Bless you for putting up with me and because without you I wouldn't have ever become a teacher, probably the most rewarding thing I ever did. A special thanks to Debbie Raikes. Click e-mail Jim to respond, ask questions or to get help or information. I'm slow to get to my e-mails so if I don't send it again.
Jim's 'Steps for Success'
1) 'A Good Attitude' it's the most important thing and you have control of it. 2) 'Common Sense' Not so common anymore, must be developed. It's the ability to recognize and use what's available to fix or solve any problem you have. 3) 'A Strong Work Ethic'. Today's kids want to be entertained, to have instant gratification, do not want to work or learn. 'You must be willing to spend time & work as hard as needed to reach your goals'. 4) 'Quitting is never an option!' Don't give up, press on! "Quitters never win" 5) 'You must think you're smart enough to do anything'. If you don't believe you can do something, then you're defeated before you start. 6) 'Learn from your mistakes'. Edison's light bulb: took apx. 2,500 tries but he said none were failures because he learned something to do/not to do each try. 7) Learn how to apply a combination of knowledge, understanding & divergent creative problem solving methods, skills and abilities to accomplish any goal.
I teach to give you a chance. Our educational system has broken down, students aren't being taught the skills needed to succeed because the current education system doesn't work. Technology is about to explode exponentially and few will be able to keep up. On your first job after college you will be on three months probation to prove they didn't make a mistake hiring you. Fail in your first two jobs and you will most likely have to find a new career.
Over the past 50 years I have developed a unique design method which I've used to invent many successful projects. I know what it takes to be successful and want to share this knowledge and my methods with you, the next generation.
Learn what you need to know before spending $150,000 or more for an education you can't use. I'm available to talk with parents or students when time permits.
New 2019-20 schedule is set. After 28 yrs I've decided to teach at only one location (maybe two) from now on. Fall 2019 will begin my 30th year at RHSA. The homepage of this website has my background Bio. The 'About KLC' page has class goals and teaching style information. E-mail me if you have any questions.
What KLC offers: Unique and fun projects that are designed to teach technical skills & problem solving methods developed by Jim. These popular hands-on projects develop your abilities and demonstrate how to use & apply the basic principles. Both Electrical and mechanical projects are available for all skill levels, beginner to advanced. This is a serious but FUN way to develop common sense and learn logical and creative critical thinking and skills. The hands-on class projects develop an understanding of scientific principles and methods used to design something new and original. Engineers that understand these principles can apply them to invent and design original concepts. The rest can only modify what others have done (ie: use Google for ideas) because they have book knowledge but lack application skills and understanding. I try to present all this in a way that's easy to understand and fun to do. We build cool projects that help you remember these things and the bonus is you get to keep most of the projects.
To be added
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"Goals & Purpose"
Popular Dallas teacher Jim McMillan has created special hands-on projects designed to teach you how to think-on-your-feet, Quickly analyze facts (critical thinking)and initiate a divergent course of action for any situation.
These abilities apply to anything you do not just science, technology & engineering.
These classes give you an understanding of rules, formulas and scientific principles.They help you develop creative problem solving skills and a positive 'can do' positive attitude.
Former five time Science Fair winner, Inventor, Scoutmaster, and Research & Product Design Engineer, Mr. McMillan has used his unique methods to create, design and invent products for many companies. Review class descriptions below, If you have questions or comments
Creative Problem Solving (for creative/curious minds)
Learn Creative methods from 50+ yrs of experience
Gadgets & Gizmos Class: (ages 7 1/2-10) As of May 2019 class won't be offered unless another school ask me to teach. This hands-on class is 'Fun & Appealing' to both boys and girls who like to make things happen. Students learn to use tools and develop specific skills such as soldering, following directions, paying attention to details and how to work together. They'll use these skills to build quality projects - see 'Pictures' button on Home-Page of this website.
This class teaches Jim's hands-on method of how to use simple hand tools, hone skills and develop abilities needed to build the projects. Most projects are new each year but adv. or returning students can select another project if they demonstrate they have the necessary skills &/or have been in the class before. Students work individually to hone skills and in teams to learn how to work together. Parents can e-mail me to ask questions about any of my classes.
Examples of some past projects....
1) Make a pet Porcupine. Using a hammer and up to 120 nails. 2) Learn about screws & screwdrivers then use them to build special projects. 3) Learn to solder then make: electronic art, dummy boards, LED flashlights, "Blinky Robot", etc. 4) Learn about aerodynamics & build things that glide or fly through the air. 5) Learn about nuts, bolts & washers, use special parts to make "creatures", "race cars" & other things. 6) Use "Wood Erector set" and metal pieces to build towers, bridges, helicopters or your own creations.
Engineering Skills: (level 1&2) for ages 11-18. Instructor: Jim McMillan was a Product Development Research & Design Engineer. Read 'Jim's Background' and 'Steps for Success'. On college transcripts refer to this class as: Pre-Engineering.
This class teaches students what they need to know to survive in today's technical world, not just as Engineers but in other fields as well. Students with two or more years in this class have received Pre-Engineering college credit after testing at MIT, SMU and other prestigious schools. Check this website for latest updates and information about classes and Jim's goal to teach essential missing knowledge.
Class is for all students: All new students start at Level 1 but can move up to Level 2 when they demonstrate they have the knowledge and skills to keep up & do the work. The material is the same but Level 2 students are taught more technical information and details to do the harder projects. The projects are designed to be Fun and challenging and allow the students to progress at a comfortable pace so they can develop a positive "can do" attitude. For over twenty years Jim held weekly summer camps in Richardson with 4 or 5 "helpers" and up to 38 kids per session. There were multiple different kits or projects going at all times, teaching school is a lot easier!
Level 1: Must learn soldering skills, project building techniques, parts purpose or use and how to identity them BEFORE building the projects. To qualify for level 2 they must build correctly build projects that work on first try.
Level 2: Students can request more difficult projects once they convince Jim they can do the work. Advanced students may bring in their own kits if instructor agrees they are capable of building them. Ask Jim before you buy any kit!
This class builds both electrical and mechanical projects. Mr. McMillan started inventing before he was 10 and became a very successful Product Development Research & Design Engineer (go back and read 'Jim's Background') for several Texas Engineering companies. Class grades will be determined by class participation and effort not test. Rare quizzes will be 'open notes' and are just to see if you are keeping up and to help Jim select class projects. I highly suggest taking the class twice to better understand the material. The repetition of skills is a key strategy for learning. Mr. McMillan is passionate about teaching (29 years) & mentoring the next generation. His unique classes offer a fresh perspective and the skills needed to meet creative challenges. He's glad to make time to answer parent or student questions whenever he can.
How Things Work: for ages 10-17
On college transcripts call it: Design Concepts,
Updated 2019-2020 class descriptions This is a High School level class but younger students have taken it successfully for years.
For young Wanta-be Inventors and Designers: Learn how and why things are made! Get hands-on experience using original methods that Jim's developed and used over the last 50 yrs,see "Jims Background" on the HomePage. These are the skills that made him a successful Product Design and Research Engineer. He want to pass them on to you. These methods can be applied to most technical careers not just engineering. Schools today don't prepare students for what will be expected of them when they graduate. I teach my students how and what to do to survive in the working environment. Get a head start on your future competition. These classes are a unique one-of-a-kind experience!
To develop, create, design or invent you must have a basic fundamental understanding of how and why things work. Without this knowledge you can only modify what others have done. Students will take apart all kinds of things to see what makes them tick. Sometimes we will fix or modify the project into something else. This is an exciting class Jim has developed to teach the skills, abilities and his methods needed to create original designs.
I recommend taking this class more than once because it takes time and repetition to understand the basic concepts. Usually the first year in any of my classes is great fun but in the second year you begin to understand the concepts and principles involved. The projects are always new or changed each year. Come and join the fun! Students can bring things to fix, to work on themselves or to share with the class. There is no homework or quizzes, students are graded on class participation and attitude.
Examples of past projects:
We have built gaming computers, Free Wi-Fi antennas, lightning generators, Marshmallow Cannons, Rat(trap) Racers, a go-cart & LED lantern survival light. Learned how to wire home electronics like ceiling fans, stereos, surround sound, install light cutoff switches in two or more locations with a dimmer. Studied Humanoid Robotics, Automotive stuff (ask me about it), Taken apart; X-boxes, R/C cars, computers, smart phones, hard drives, keyboards, electric motors, drills, soldering irons, glue guns, a lawn mower engine, converted a 2 speaker system to sound like a 'virtual surround' system, used metal & plastic bending tools and many other things.
* Age 9: Bugged his house, mothers Beauty Shop & the Gas Station Restroom next door. * Age 10: Figured out & built a working mechanical elevator, went 12 ft up to his tree house. * Age 11: Designed an electromagnetic acceleration device that could shoot needles. * Age 14-18: Won his High School Science Fair 5 yrs in a row. Jim's HS was 8th-12th grade. * Age 15-17: All-State Band (10th-12th). Could play almost every Instrument in the Band. * Age 18: Won Sci Fair with listening device, similar to those used at current NFL games. * Age 23: Designed original system to visually display stereo sound and volume. It's used in nightclubs all over the world (could've made big bucks). He still has it. * Jim has taught 29 yrs in Dallas area Home-School Co-Ops and for four Private Schools. * For 23 yrs, Jim's KLC: Creative Technology Summer Camps taught thousands to use his special unique hands-on how-to-do-it methods of divergent creative problem solving and special design techniques. * 3.5 yrs. in Air Force: used the 'GI bill' and TI special program money to attend SMU. * Jim was top of his class in a 53 week Air Force Electronics school and got the best possible assignment: the 745th AC&W Squadron in Duncanville, Tx. Has lived in Dallas since 1961. * '63 First job out of Air Force, was a technician on the 'Shrike Missile' guidance system at TI. * '64 designed 'Musical Lights' to demonstrate Stereo. Had 1'x4' wood frames, 30-light bars/ch. used R,Y,B to represent freq's. It's now used all over the world and I still have the original. * '63-67 worked his way up to become a TI Engineer. Texas Instruments then put Jim in their 'Summer Development Program', which paid all expenses to get married & go to SMU. * '67-71 Graduated SMU class of '71, BSEE (E. Engr), went on to become a 'Product Development Research & Design Engineer' who did orig. designs for many Texas companies. * Jim's taught Creative Engr'ing & Problem Solving classes for 29 yrs at Private Schools. * '71 Bubble memory for $25 million computer, '73 designed the Calculator Chip at Texas Instr. * Original Product Designs: include 'Musical Lights', Original Hand Held Calculator and the first wide-angle No-Glasses 3D, now called 4K (while teaching at three schools). * Was a Science-Fair Judge for several years & 1 year at 'Future City' competition, UTA. * Created projects specifically designed to teach skills, develop &/or hone abilities. * Built and drove modified sports car to series championship. Won 'Most Popular car' award at '91 FW Autorama and set record at Austin Travis-Dam Hill Climb. * Was Assistant SM & Eagle Coordinator at Troop 35, Highland Park,18 yrs. and co- started Troop 125 at Northwest Bible Church, Dallas (300+ reached Eagle Rank) * Antelope Patrol WOODBADGE #45 (1991) Scouts highest level of adult training.
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Creative Problem Solving: ages 11-18
On college transcripts call it: Pre-Engineering.
This class is only available at RHSA (see instructors background on his KLC website. This is a High School level class but brighter younger students will be able to keep up - no one will be left behind.
Former Product Development Research & Design Engineer Jim McMillan, the instructor, will guide the class through the Creative Problem Solving & Product Design process. Jim has never shared these special methods (50 yrs in the making) with anyone before. The class will help select projects and evaluate if they can be done in class or not. We will work individually or in teams. Instructor will select the teams to have equal skills and age ranges for each project. Visit Jim's website, check out 'Jim's Background' & in 'Announcements' see 'Steps for Success'. Jim used these to overcome difficult challenges and design incredible new and original products. The best students could become 'Team Leaders' or a 'Helper'.
First Project: "How to Modify or Build a Computer" Includes parts A, B and C below. A) 1: Take apart & reassemble a working computer, load accessories software & test. Jim will supply up to six working computers to be shared by the class. Everyone will be involved in disassembling.rebuilding, loading necessary software & testing a computer. Everything needed will be supplied. 2: Convert a computer to run Jim's original 3D design: no goggles or special 3D screen required.
B) "Super Gaming Computer": Show & Tell:
Designed & built by Jim (not a gamer) to show unbelievers that it was possible. Jim has created the fastest & smallest possible (9.5"x 9"x 14") liquid cooled Gaming Computer. It has ELVA 1060 Graphics, 16GB Ram a Intel 6700K i5 CPU (over-clocked to i7 specs) and Jim designed 'no-glasses 3D' rated in top 3% in the US. The Unique Valley Heaven Benchmark test results: FPS: 131.3, Score: 5,494. On a different Heaven test the score was 8,513. We have the test papers and can rerun the test in class to verify.
C) We will convert a Dual Core Dell computer into a 3D Gaming Computer in class to show anyone who might be interested how easy it is to build their own. If you're not interested in gamingyou'll still be able to play Blu-ray and 3D movies (no special screen required) if you select the right equipment for your build.
Students wanting to build a Gaming Computer at home can get limited help from Jim. You may can save money by using your own computer or it's parts. Jim will advise you on what to buy or avoid - ask him before buying anything you're not sure about. He has or can help you find deals on parts or computers, including i3's, i5's and i7's. Jim has access to many computers & parts - cheaper because they're used or missing parts you wouldn't want anyway. Speed is money, decide what you need & can afford - plan it so you can upgrade to what you desire latter.
Class Registration: RHSA, Richardson Home-school Assoc. Visit their web-site www.RHSA.org . The Co-Op meets at Temple Shalom, Hillcrest at Alpha, their phone no. answered Tues & Thurs during school hours is 972-234-8404. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgGeneral information: Class cost vary ($45-$50/mo) due to the fees I'm charged. The Materials fee ($75/yr) covers class projects - my expenses are about $130/student. Check the Bulletin Board for latest information, updates & announcements. Future Classes: Offering several new options starting this Fall - See Bulletin Board for options. If interested in offering our classes or Summer Camps at your location, call 214-521-1444 or e-mail Jim to set a time to meet or discuss options.
Fall Class Schedule (Scan Down) 2015-16 Home, Private and After-School classes will again be taught at three locations
Tues: RHSA Home-school Co-Op Now meets at Temple Shalom, on Hillcrest 1/2 mile North of LBJ - go to the back entrance.
............... ......... If interested contact Jim to discuss ...... My classes are geared for ages 8 to 17. E-mail Jim or call him at 214-521-1444.
Possible college credits:
1) It's possible to qualify for Pre-Engineering college credits if you take 2 years or more of Technical Science and/or Engineering Skills. This will give you a major advantage over other students & the possibility of advanced placement.
2) Sci-Tech 1&2 (pre-engineering) will be taught at the same time but second year or those who can do the work have the option to select more difficult projects.
1 Animusic 1&2 Animated instruments, 2 disc set G 2 The Machines Fanastic exhibit at the MIT Robotics Museum G 3 Night at the Museum 1&2 Comes Alive/Battle of Smithsonian G 4 The Black Stallion Shipwrecked Horse becomes champion G 5 Cars An animated world of cars G 6 Inspector Clouseau   Bumbling Pink Panther Detective G 7 Wall-E   nbsp;Adventures of Junk Yard Robot G 8 62 Classic Cartoons   Superman,Casper, Popeye & more G 9 6 Hrs of Cartoons   Fabulous Cartoon Funnies, 6 hours G
15 Troop Beverly Hills Very funny Girl Scout Adventures PG 16 National Treasure 1 & 2 Seeking the worlds greatest treasures PG 17 Ice Age 1, 2 & 3 Pre-Historic/Meltdown/Dinosaurs PG 18 Madagascar 1 & 2 Escape to Africa & Penguins Adventure PG 19 The Rocketeer Top secret jet pack found PG 20 StarTrek/StarTrek 3 1st Contact/Search for Spock PG 21 Young Indiana Jones Treasure of the Peacocks eye PG 22 Lord of the Rings 1 &2 Return/Fellowship of the King PG 23 2 Fantastic-4 movies Original & Rise of the Silver Surfer PG 24 Robots Comedy - Robot movie PG 25 Hitchhikers Guide Inner Galactic Space Travelers PG 26 Kart Racers (unlimited) Courage has no Speed Limit PG 27 Lemans Prototype Racing European Championship Series PG 28 Bullitt (Steve McQueen) Best car chase in movie history PG 29 Short Circuit (Johnny 5) Runaway robot think he's alive PG
35 Days of Thunder Racing movie with Tom Cruise PG-13 36 Italian Job Orig/Remake Wild bank robbery & escape PG-13 37 The One Destroy the matrix to save the universe PG-13 38 Blackbeard Pirates of the Caribbean sequence PG-13 39 Ironman 1 & 2 A thrill a minute Robotman PG-13 40 Avatar Return to Pandora, Adv civilization PG-13 41 I Robot Adv powerfull robots try to take over PG-13