Providence Day School eighth-grade students Morgan Boonshaft, Katherine Liu, Pavan Thakkar, and Jodie Yan formed a Middle School science group that competed in the eCYBERMISSION national competition. This group of students from PD placed first out of all eighth-grade participants in North Carolina and were one of the top three first-place teams in the Southeast Region. Each team member was also awarded $2,000 in US Savings Bonds for placing first in the state and qualifying for the region.
Additionally, the group was one of five teams awarded the national eCYBERMISSION STEM-in-Action Grant which provides $5,000 to expand their project locally and invites participation in the National Judging and Educational Event taking place remotely June 14-19. Students submitted a “Mission Folder” including detailed answers to questions on their research and prototype design solutions in addition to testing data that was gathered between November-February.
The project focuses on the problem of plastics extracted from bodies of water such as oceans, lakes, and rivers which are often covered in filth and dirt. Dirty plastic is difficult to recycle and often ends up in landfills instead of at recycling facilities, while also earning less when sold off than clean plastic. The PD team worked to find a solution to this problem that was not too expensive, could be implemented in as many places as possible, and is environmentally friendly. The prototype allows dirty plastic to be placed in a shredder that will then feed the shredded, cut plastic into a container filled with a cleaning mixture of vinegar and baking soda.
The project concept began two years ago; the team has always focused on environmental issues and the group of Boonshaft, Liu, Thakkar, and Yan began working together as a team in the STEM/eCYBERMISSION Club in seventh grade. They decided to continue the partnership this year and focused on this issue because it is a known problem locally, especially in the Catawba River and in streams throughout Charlotte and surrounding areas. The grant award will be used to build a prototype to be tested locally.
eCYBERMISSION is a web-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competition for students in grades six through nine that promotes self-discovery and enables all students to recognize the real-life applications of STEM. Teams of three or four students are instructed to ask questions (for science) or define problems (for engineering), and then construct explanations (for science) or design solutions (for engineering) based on identified problems in their community. Students compete for State, Regional, and National Awards. The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program is committed to answering the Nation’s need for increased national STEM literacy and to expanding STEM education opportunities across the country to open doors to new career paths for American students that lead to a brighter tomorrow. – ecybermission.com