News Post

6th-grade Team Scores Second in State at STEM Competition
6th-grade Team Scores Second in State at STEM Competition

Providence Day School’s 6th-grade team took second place for North Carolina’s 6th-grade category of the annual eCYBERMISSION competition — one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives offered by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program.

The “Charger 2” team — comprised of Katherine Liu, Pavan Thakkar and Rose Williams — are among the more than 4,300 teams from all 50 states to compete in the international competition that challenges students in 6th through 9th grades to develop solutions to real-world problems in their local communities.

Students compete for state, regional and national awards. Charger 2, along with their advisor, Middle School science teacher Ashley McClelland, worked between October 2017 and February 2018 to research and select a global issue and then prototype and test a solution.

The team decided to tackle cleaning up plastic pollution in the ocean after learning about the Great Pacific garbage patch, a gyre of marine debris particles — plastic, floating trash — in the central North Pacific Ocean halfway between Hawaii and California.

The students designed a self-powered, floating device that would collect and store plastic garbage until it can be removed by a passing vessel. As part of the competition, a panel of judges — consisting of U.S. Army scientists and engineers, educators and STEM professionals — evaluated teams based on criteria including innovative ideas.

Only first-place winning teams continue as national finalists to the annual National Judging and Educational Event in June.