STEM education provides many opportunities and challenges. How can our practice evolve to meet the needs of 21st-century learners?

Science Olympiad Wright Capacitor

Bill Kuhl

I have been giving online advice to some 7th grade students in the state of Virginia for the trial Science Olympiad event, Wright Capacitor. It has not been real easy doing this online, but we have both been patient and it has worked out well. I had created a folder of the email correspondence and there were over 60 emails. To try to explain things; I sent pictures, simple diagrams, and a link to a video I created of a plane I had built. For a start I had sent them an AMA Cub rubber-powered airplane kit.

For some of the questions they had, I submitted their questions to a free flight model airplane listserve to get more opinions from experts in model aviation. They were so grateful for any advice I could give because they could not find help at their school and not the best advice from the local hobby shop. Their first flights were rather short and they seemed frustrated, more suggestions and their flights improved. Testing was done outdoors and apparently their plane was caught in a thermal air current and flew away. They built more airplanes.

Last weekend they competed with 47 teams at Science Olympiad in Madison Wisconsin and placed 6th out of 47 teams. It was so exciting for them, they sent a link so that I could watch the award ceremony online. What a huge event, over 7000 people there. I am just so happy I was a little part of this.

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