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Technology challenge, STEM Fair required research

MADISON – Teachers in Madison’s middle schools ushered in a new chapter of inquiry with the first annual Technology Student Association Challenge and STEM Fair for Madison City Schools.

Held at Liberty Middle School on Feb. 17, the fair coincided with Career and Technical Education Month in February.

More than 100 students participated in good-natured rivalry to compete in nine disciplines. Youth chose a project among nine subjects:

* Career preparation – Students selected a career from architecture and construction; health sciences; human services; law; security; public safety; and corrections. Students completed research, a resume and mock interview.

* Challenging technology issues – Two-member teams prepared pros/cons to debate autonomous vehicles, biometric recognition, cloud computing, robotic surgery and wearable technology.

* Children’s stories – For grades K-2, individuals or two-member teams created a children’s book promoting leadership and perseverance. They field tested and answered judges’ questions.

* Coding – Two-member teams prepared for coding challenges using Scratch.mit.edu to solve challenges from judges.

* Flight – Participants submitted a documentation portfolio and fabricated a glider to maintain flight for the maximum time.

* Inventions and innovations – Three-member teams applied design process for a device to simplify daily life. Requirements included an interactive display and a model/prototype.

* Off-the-grid – Individuals or two- or three-member teams used design process to design a home in a forest biome in any country. A family of four with three generations needs renewable energy, vegetable gardening and solution to a local problem.

* Promotional marketing — Individuals submitted a portfolio and followed the annual theme or problem.

* STEM animation – Two-member teams designed a STEM animation video and documentation for annual theme or problem.

Partners from area industry and business helped with judging and conducted mock interviews.

The Technology Student Association or TSA is a national student organization engaged in STEM pursuits. Students in tech study can join. TSA has 250,000-plus secondary students across the country.

MCS administrators appreciated Liberty and Discovery’s CTE teachers for hosting the challenge. Administrators also thanked community and business partners for support.

For more information, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=685.

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