Dreams do come true and hard work is recognized. This time it’s high-fives all around as students and teachers at Lake Fenton Middle School in Fenton celebrate being selected as one of twenty-five Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Model Schools, and the SME Education Foundation agreeing to sponsor their participation at PLTW’s First National Innovation Summit with a $10,000 gift.
The event is being held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. on Oct. 20-24.
Attending the summit will be science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related industry representatives, public and private educational agencies, philanthropic organizations and a wide cross-section of the greater STEM community. Students from around the world have been out-performing U.S. students, particularly STEM fields, and expanding education in these disciplines has become a national priority. The National Innovation Summit event, hosted by Project Lead The Way, is a collaborative three-day forum, featuring visionary keynote speakers, in-depth panel discussions, hands-on breakout sessions and award-winning student project displays.
Says Lake Fenton Middle School’s lead STEM teacher, William Rae: “Thanks to the SME Education Foundation, we’ll be able to showcase, compete and illustrate once more, the value of the STEM-based curriculum offered by PLTW. We’re proud to be recognized for our excellent teachers, school leadership and challenging academic programs.”
Student projects from the 25 PLTW Model School will showcase the Gateway to Technology middle school program, the engineering high chool program and the biomedical sciences high school program. The Lake Fenton Middle School project, the Rube Goldberg Device, was selected from one of the six Science of Technology courses offered by PLTW.
The good news caused the-student body to elevate their Homecoming celebrations by recognizing the academic achievements of its teachers and students — as well as its athletes, and giving them a proper send-off in front of the whole school. When learning they would be going to Washington with their teacher and competing at the Innovation Summit, the excitement of the four students — two girls and two boys, whose ages range from 12 to 14 — was palatable.
The students’ Rube Goldberg Device project requires receiving energy from one device and using all six simple machines within a 12” x 12” working space transfer energy to a third device. The project involves the design process from beginning to end, as well as working with a partner and individuals in the connecting subsystem groups. Not only is this a graded project for individual groups, but for the entire class, as each device is connected to the next for the entire class to build one large Rube Goldberg device. While the entire class is working on 15 different subsystems, only two will be displayed at the summit.
After showcasing their Rube Goldberg Device project Wednesday, Oct. 20, the students will attend the Awards Dinner and Gala. On Thursday, Oct. 21, after a visit to Capitol Hill, and lunch with the entire Innovation Summit, students will start work on Vex Robotics Clean Sweep competition project with awards and prizes being presented at the closing lunch on Friday, Oct. 22. The students will also visit Washington monuments and museums and participate in the USA Science and Engineering Festival, being held on the National Mall, Oct. 23-24. At the exhibition, PLTW students will showcase their daily classroom, hands-on, project-based activities.
SME Education Foundation director, Bart A. Aslin says, “Supporting, encouraging and mentoring young people is critical. When they experience their peers celebrating their achievements, it sends an important signal to the young people who will follow. It also causes parents to think seriously about the academic choices their children make.”
The PLTW program introduces basic engineering concepts to fifth and sixth graders using a concentrated, standardized and rigorous curriculum which emphasizes STEM education. After they are academically prepared, students then move into the PLTW highly successful, middle-school pre-engineering curriculum, the Gateway to Technology Program. Visit www.pltw.org.
The SME Education Foundation launched its Gateway Academy pilot program in 2006, introducing five academies in two states (California and New York). This year, thanks to donor funding, 237 Gateway Academies were offered in 34 states reaching 4,800 students. PLTW-trained teachers have been able to encourage an increasingly more diverse group of students to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, healthcare providers, and researchers in an effort to enable the United States to compete favorably in the global economy.
Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit www.smeef.org. Also visit www.CareerMe.org, a new website supporting advanced manufacturing careers, and our award-winning Web site for young people – www.ManufacturingisCool.com
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