NASA grant provides opportunity for 5th graders to participate in STEM engineering design challenge “Keep it Cool”
Students at Polaris joined engineers from the Glenn Science Center Cryogenics Lab in Cleveland to work on the problem of keeping their hydrogen fuel tank cool on the way to the moon and then to Mars.
They collaborated with subject matter experts by livestream who provided background knowledge and feedback in the design loop. Students worked within their teams to design and build a working structure, calibrate ice, test their design, record and graph their data, and make improvements. The week wrapped up with a final “Shark Tank” style presentation to a board of investors who will award a multimillion-dollar contract.
Tree’s growing STEM program allows students to work in PBL (Problem Based Learning) teams, beginning at the elementary grade level. Through the use of PBL, students understand the need for content they are learning in the classroom; skills such as 4-digit multiplication and knowing the rules of phonics become tools that have an immediate purpose in the STEM lab.
The STEM and PBL teaching model at the Polaris campus has had phenomenal success in the past couple of years, and the program will continue to grow at the Clintonville and Dublin campuses. At Northridge, STEM classes continue to expand for middle and high school as Tree graduates students who are ready for the 21st century.