8th Graders Hit a Home Run with STEM

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On September 13th, nine 8th grade student teams from metro Atlanta middle schools were invited to Turner Field to attend a STEM filled evening with the Braves and Georgia Tech to announce a fun new science challenge. This challenge will be incorporated in an 8th grade STEM curriculum that is being developed at Georgia Tech. The teachers and students also attended the game.

During the event, students were able to explore over a dozen STEM experiences that were hosted by Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology, STEM@GTRI and Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). These activities varied from virtual reality, exploring the effect that a vacuum has on sound waves, to creating a catapult using rubber bands, bottle caps, and popsicle sticks.

After the students had time to explore the various demonstrations, GTRI researchers Michael E. Knotts and Jack W. Wood announced the STEM challenge. Students will assemble a baseball launcher from a kit that will be supplied to each team. Students will make various modifications and adjustments to the launchers to investigate which combinations will successfully launch a baseball and accurately reach a target. Teachers were also encouraged to send in their student’s nomination for a name for the baseball launcher.

Throughout the school year teachers will attend learning sessions hosted by CEISMC and STEM@GTRI, and participate in the development and fine-tuning of the new curricula that stems from the baseball launcher challenge.

"There are many benefits to students and teachers from participation in this exciting event," said Tamara Pearson, Associate Director of CEISMC. "Teachers will receive on-going professional development around the engineering design process, as well as learn ways to integrate science and mathematics through the completion of an engineering challenge.  Students are given the opportunity to problem solve around a fun and engaging activity, while developing their math and science skills."

Student teams will compete at the end of the school year. The winning team will attend and be recognized at a Braves game at the new SunTrust ballpark in 2017.

Written by:
Steven L. Taylor
Communications Manager


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Steven Taylor
  • Created: 09/19/2016
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 05/26/2022


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