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01-13-2015

Clarkson University-Malone Central School District After-School STEM Partnership Combines Education and Fun

High school students built model roller coasters out of repurposed items during the first challenge of the Clarkson University-Malone Central School District After-School STEM Partnership.

High school students from Franklin Academy in Malone, N.Y., display their winning model roller coaster after the first challenge of the Clarkson University-Malone Central School District After-School STEM Partnership.Mary Margaret Small, Shipley Center for Innovation Educational Partnerships director and coordinator of the North Country STEM Network, said the challenges serve a dual purpose to help students improve their content knowledge and demonstrate that STEM can be fun. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math education.

The challenges are designed to appeal to students' personal interests by examining the science and math related to recreation activities, Small said. A total of 15 students in three teams used course content such as algebra to build their model roller coasters out of repurposed items.

"Part of the goal is to engage students in STEM in an informal manner in hopes of sparking their interest in a STEM career or a STEM major in college," she said. "Another goal is to improve their content knowledge, such as friction, velocity and other physics concepts."

Small said this is the second year Clarkson has partnered with Franklin Academy in Malone, N.Y., to deliver engineering-based problem solving experiences, and all students at the high school are welcome to participate in the challenges. Most of the participants are in ninth and 10th grade, she said, so they're at an age when they begin to make decisions about their career paths.

"Helping them understand careers related to math and science allows them to make better choices about the courses they take in high school, which ultimately opens doors to college courses and careers," she said.

Three more STEM challenges will be held throughout the spring for the high school students, including a full-day workshop on physical therapy and an activity that analyzes the dynamics of archery.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: High school students from Franklin Academy in Malone, N.Y., display their winning model roller coaster after the first challenge of the Clarkson University-Malone Central School District After-School STEM Partnership. Standing from left to right is Ben Senter, Abby Vincent, David Harning, Noah Searles and seated is Dakota Hall.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/franklin-academy-stem.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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