Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Look at STEM-in-Action Grant Teams.....In Action!

eCYBERMISSION's STEM-in-Action Grant program provides an opportunity for up to five student teams each year to receive a grant up to $5,000. Teams that receive this U.S. Army funded grant have an additional year to further implement their Mission Folder projects submitted for the competition.

Let's take a look at the 2015-16 eCYBERMISSION STEM-in-Action Grant recipients!

For more information, visit us at www.ecybermission.com/STEMinActionGrant

Team: Baby cAir
Location: Shanghai, China
Baby cAir realized one of the most pressing issues facing the Chinese community was air pollution. The team has proven links to short and long term respiratory illness, which is increased when looking at the effects on infants. Currently, they are working on a newer version that will fully implement a working feedback loop with high quality sensors, along with a newer, more aesthetically appealing design that will allow the baby to see outside more.  

Team: Power Play
Location: Belfast, ME
Team Power Play’s community has been making efforts to become more eco-friendly over the past few years because of the negative impact of burning fossil fuels. With their STEM-In- Action Grant, they are building a local park or playground in the near future. Power Play will be collaborating with a team of senior engineering students from the University of Maine to build a more efficient model and successfully build a merry-go-round that generates power as it's being used.

Team: Envo
Location: Farmington, AR
Team Envo’s community has grown fast and now has more problems with flooding following any heavy rain. Envo plans to work with local officials and their county extension agent to select plants such as shrubs and grasses that will be planted along the banks of a local stream in their community. Team Envo’s goal is to establish plants with root systems that would anchor the soil along the stream, reducing the amount of soil runoff.

Team: Rocky Run
Location: Chantilly, VA

A tragedy occurred, affecting someone Rocky Run team members knew personally, in which their house had burned down due to a stove fire. To address this issue, Rocky Run created created a device using a Raspberry Pi microcomputer to detect dangerous stovetop temperature levels that will alert the homeowner. Rocky Run's short term goals begin with soldering all of the device’s components together and packaging it neatly and aesthetically.

Team: Styro-Filter
Location: Gahanna, OH
Styro-Filter's project addressed the growing problem of Styrofoam trash, which consumes 25% of US landfills and takes thousands of years to degrade. Unfortunately, almost all of their attempts to convert Styrofoam into carbon failed. Many of their samples completely vaporized, which was very discouraging and they almost gave up. But finally, they experimented with a lower temperature and achieved success! With the STEM-in-Action Grant, Styro-Filter plans to continue improving their process and to apply for a full patent.   

Stay tuned as we follow these five STEM-in-Action Grant teams as they make progress on their projects!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Puerto Rico Point of View: STEM Solutions in our Community!

 Our journey started with one question.  
How can we solve a local problem to help people in our community? 

Team Las Chicas, 6th Grade Winners

FREEDOM  - "Having freedom with our topic was powerful. It encouraged us to put our effort into something that was personal and important to us."

This made our work exciting and interesting because it related to our daily lives.  Although having the freedom of choice did benefit us in many ways, it also required us to be responsible to select an issue that was not only interesting, but something that could be addressed to make a difference in our community. 
As a group, we explored what it would be like as a real scientist to analyze current Saharan dust levels and study satellite readings provided by NOAA’s Saharan Air Layer Tracking Product. Going into the field interviewing experts along with conducting research allowed us to question statements we read in textbooks. Saharan dust is not just connected to asthma attacks.  It also impacts our coral reefs and our local Coast Guard Search and Rescue missions.
TECHNOLOGY - "Technology invited us to take our project further than we imagined and played a large part in the creation of our product." 
After conducting interviews and analyzing interest surveys, we created an interactive website that served as a warning system to those who suffer with respiratory issues. We were able to create online graphs, type essays, develop online surveys, and track and review the effects of Saharan dust in our community.  We were also given the opportunity to observe and analyze the current Saharan dust-levels through satellite data or imagery. This information was updated daily through NOAA and gave us information to present to our visitors.  We embraced technology that allowed us to communicate with each other, connect with experts, and be anywhere we chose.  

MOTIVATION  "It was important to encourage people in our community that improving something isn’t impossible, even though it may seem untouchable."
Reaction after being named national winners
When we started this challenge, we never imagined we would make it to the state level, let alone become a national winning team! We were motivated to inspire our peers and fellow community members that staying before school, after school, and even vacations was worth all the hard work!  Anything is possible and learning something new is a great experience! 
This program encouraged us to make a difference in our community.     

The freedom to select a meaningful problem and create a unique solution was amazing.  Technology connected our passion to valuable resources and ultimately connected our ideas to many people in need.  We are motivated to continue on our journey of questioning and learning to hopefully inspire others to do the same.
                                                                   -Team Las Chicas
                                                                     Puerto Rico
                                                                     2016 6th Grade National Winners

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Quilt in the Making!

Were you that kid whose mom captured every moment for the family photo album? Well thanks to the original project manager when eCYBERMISSION started in 2002, the educational STEM competition will soon have 13 years of history to display.

Kelly Foster, eCYBERMISSION Project Manager from 2002-2007, begun collecting eCYBERMISSION and school team T-shirts of participants at the National Judging & Educational Event (NJ&EE) each year. Kelly has collected close to 50 T-shirts that have been shipped off for quilt creation.

While the window has closed to submit a T-shirt for the eCYBERMISSION quilt, we’d love your
T-shirts submitted by a TA in Whiteface, TX
support in sharing the good news.

After all, this quilt represents a bigger picture. It represents past, present, and future students building their knowledge in STEM while improving their communities across the country!

And what’s an eCYBERMISSION experience without amazing volunteers that provide support, the same way your mom did when creating childhood memories.

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