Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Charles County Students Participate in NSWC STEM Summer Program

The BayNet
LA PLATA - 7/28/2008

More than 30 Charles County Public Schools students participated in the first science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) summer program sponsored by the school system and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head division.

The two-week-long program was held at Theodore G. Davis Middle School from June 30 through July 11, and 33 Charles County middle school students participated. The students were divided into groups of seven and were from Mattawoman and Davis middle schools. Each team had a county science teacher assigned to serve as their team’s referee and were paired with an engineer from NSWC.

The program introduced students to a series of science and engineering problems through Material World Modules (MWM), various engineering challenges, robotics challenges and a research project.

The modules are a series of kits students use to investigate real world engineering problems. One module covered why specific sports equipment, such as golf balls, tennis balls, footballs and basketballs, are used for specific sports. Students examined the physical properties of the balls, including the size, mass and weight of distribution and how many layers of materials are used to create the equipment.

The second of two modules consisted of smart sensors, including light, infrared and magnetic sensors. Students were required to investigate the sensor’s trigger and hypothesize what sets the sensor off, such as light, temperature, motion and pressure. Student teams also had to map our where, in the area surrounding the sensor, the sensor went off to try and figure out how to avoid the trigger. Teams were then required to compete against each other in a contest to see which team could successfully pass by each sensor without being detected.

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