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School is almost out for the summer, but in Levy County the 8th grade Algebra I students are still busy learning mathematic concepts and applying them in hands on activities. On Tuesday, May 31, the Levy County Schools Foundation used an AT&T Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) grant to bring the 8th grade Algebra I students from across the county together to learn more about careers related to mathematics and to encourage students to choose rigorous math and science classes upon entering high school.
Students arrived to find themselves separated into groups based on 20 different mathematical symbols with the assignment to build a bridge using just straws and masking tape. The bridges had to be 18 inches long and 4 inches wide. The teams were given instructions and a few helpful hints by foundation member Denny George. After 40 minutes of planning and construction each team had to bring their bridge to a weigh station to test for strength. Judges were Jeff Harris, Plant Manager for Tarmac, and Denny George, Lead Account Executive for Progress Energy. Team “Parallel” had the winning design. Team members were: Trenton Hendricks, from Yankeetown School, Julianna Morris, from Williston Middle School, Patricia Earnest from Chiefland Middle, and Brody Pierce from Williston Middle School.
Following the bridge activity Diana Scroggie, with the College of Central Florida, shared information with the students about a summer Energy Camp that will be held in Levy County June 27-30. Applications were distributed to the students and classroom teachers.
Students enjoyed lunch, compliments of Tarmac and watched a short video on Careers related to STEM.
Following lunch, Ryan Watson, Customer Service Representative for Central Florida Electric, introduced the students to electrical circuits and robotics. Each classroom teacher was presented with several robotic kits to take back to school so that the students could begin learning the basics of circuits by assembling their robots.
The students are ending their school year fully engaged in mathematics. The goal of the project is for students to be excited about entering high school and continuing on a road leading to high skill, high wage and high demand careers in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math.