Friday morning 125 high school students left their classrooms and headed to Chipola College for a day filled with hands on challenges. The Panhandle Area Educational Consortium hosted the event where Gifted students from 14 area high schools were given a mission and an expert in the field to help guide them along. The federal grant, Race to the Top, funded the day dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM. Students were able to step away from their books and apply skills they normally only read about.
The engineering project equipped students with balsa wood, glue, grid paper and a ruler, to create a structure to support at least ten pounds. With the help of professionals, and the Chiopla College atmosphere, students are being exposed to far more than a STEM project.
According to Project Development Engineer, April Williams, these students are learning far more out of the classroom about a potential career and the work that goes into it, "This is the way you learn hands on, I talked to them about theory in the beginning and it was a bunch of blank faces. By the end of today they are really going to understand the difference between a short member, a tall member and why span links matter. This is where they are actually going to see it."
Chipola College hosts the STEM events twice a semester.