Students at CSS were excited to prepare for the Technology Student Association Competition. Team member, Anna O. created this short video to document the team’s journey.
KINSTON, NC (February 19, 2016) – STEM inside the classroom engages students and helps them make sense of core subjects. STEM outside the classroom – e.g., academic competitions – is even more real world and a great way to hone leadership and teamwork skills.
The STEM East North Carolina Technology Student Association (NCTSA) invitational held at Lenoir Community College in Kinston on February 5, 2016, was the perfect example of extending the benefits of STEM via competition.
Students from 10 middle schools in the STEM East region, including CSS, took what they had gleaned from their schools’ STEM Centers and parlayed it into creating entries and preparing for five TSA events – Dragster Design, Junior Solar Sprint, Structures, Flight, and Problem Solving. The first-time invitational, sponsored by LCC, Lenoir Committee of 100, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and Pitsco Education, attracted more than 200 students and educators to the LCC campus.
“This really meets the mission of STEM East,” said the organization’s executive director, Steve Hill. “Our goal is to use this as the kickoff to finding what competitions are going on in the region. We want to identify three to six of them that we can build on in this part of the state. This event is aimed at getting the kids more excited about what they’re doing in the STEM Centers.”
NCTSA Director Jerianne Taylor helped organize and carry out the event and was excited to see students grow and learn throughout the process. “I think they’ll be able to see their ideas become reality but also understand that rules and specs are part of technology and how that plays into problem solving – working within constraints.”
Allowing a throng of middle schoolers to take over the LCC gymnasium and adjoining classrooms and gathering spaces was an easy decision, according to LCC President Brantley Briley,
who wants middle school students to catch an early glimpse of life on a college campus. He also is an ardent supporter of the STEM movement.
“There is nothing more important than STEM programs,” Briley said. “It’s the wave of the future, and I no longer worry about America’s future. I had been, but I’m no longer worried about the future because of the efforts being put into the STEM programs.”
Similar to the athletes at their schools, TSA students exhibited school pride by wearing matching T-shirts, cheering on teammates, or helping each other troubleshoot issues throughout the day.
“The mentoring that comes into play, that’s exciting,” Taylor said. “That’s what you want to see happening in the schools too. They’re excited for teammates and really, in some regards, coaching the next group. That’s how strong TSA chapters are built.”
TSA Advisor John Shirley of Greenwood Middle School is well on his way to establishing a solid chapter. His students captured seven of the 15 medals available in the five events. “Several factors made them successful,” Shirley said. “One was that students showed true interest in their events, and they showed up to work. They asked questions if they didn’t understand a rule. They supported each other while creating the projects after school and at the competition. Win or lose, they rooted for each other.”
STEM East region students and advisors will draw from their experiences at the invitational to prepare for state TSA competition in Greensboro, April 14-16, 2016. The National TSA Conference will be held in Nashville, TN, later in the summer.
- Click to Tweet: Competitions: @NCTSAstates joins with @pitscoed to launch invitational in @STEMEast region. http://www.pitsco.com/Clubs_and_Competitions/TSA&loc=mm
- Pitsco Education: http://www.pitsco.com
- TSA: http://www.tsaweb.org
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