April 13, 2012
A team comprised of students from three HISD campuses took home a pair of first-place prizes from the 2012 C-STEM Challenge on March 31, after earning top marks in two of the most competitive categories at the annual event.
The C-STEM Challenge provides a platform for historically underserved children to participate in hands-on, project-based activities related to communication, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This year, more than 2,000 students and 200 teachers from 30 different schools participated.
"It has been well-reported that the number of U.S. students studying science, technology, engineering and math is significantly lower than their counterparts from other countries," said Dr. Reagan Flowers, C-STEM's founder and CEO. "And in minority and underserved communities, the numbers are even lower. C-STEM-based education offers a practical solution, enhanced with art and social studies. We're developing the future workforce—critical thinkers and innovators who will create new products and processes that sustain our economy."
HISD's winning team consisted of students from Lantrip Elementary, Jackson Middle, and Austin High Schools, and their combined efforts to create a containment system using oil spill trajectories and devise a rescue strategy for stranded sea turtles using sighting data led them to the winner's circle in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) category. The team also earned the top prize in the Robotics category, which required participants to manage a sea turtle habitat and help detoxify an oceanic "dead zone."
In addition, Petersen Elementary School took home the coveted Kemp's Ridley Award for receiving the highest combined points from the progress reports of all divisions of the Challenge, and Jackson Middle School teacher Joseph Alva won the Janice Arceneaux Excellence in Education Award, which recognizes a teacher who exemplifies the spirit of C-STEM.
Alva was selected on the basis of his involvement with the students as they prepared for the 2012 C-STEM Challenge, his participation in C-STEM Break (a social network where students and teachers post updates of their projects throughout the year), and his participation in the C-STEM Teacher Training Institute and Saturday workshops.