GPS Middle School students and faculty prove throughout the year that creative thinking and collaboration are keys to learning. Those two 21st-century skills were behind recognition with first and second place state wins and two honorable mention awards in the 15th annual eCYBERMISSION competition sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program.
A STEM initiative administered by the National Science Teachers Association, the contest promotes self-discovery, enables students to recognize real-life applications of STEM disciplines, and challenges students in grades six through nine to develop solutions to real-world problems in their local communities.
Seventh grade teammates Olivia Burns, Merritt Kelley, Lily Marshall, and Ava Scotchie worked together on “Louisiana Water Thrush Geolocation,” a first-place project to create a more comfortable bird harness design. Each girl received a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond and will move on to the next round of the eCYBERMISSION competition where a panel of judges will evaluate the top three scores from each region in each grade level. Sixty regional finalist teams will compete to advance as one of 20 national finalists, moving on to compete at the National Judging & Educational Event —June 26-30 in Washington, D.C.
A second seventh grade team consisting of Gracie Felker, Shalizeh Rizvi, Emma Hamilton, and Emmy Richey received an Honorable Mention for a project that designed a specially-equipped car seat to prevent babies from overheating in a hot car.
Eighth grade teammates Mia Iannois, Lila Fritschen, Jamiah Flanagan, and Molly Hathorne earned a second-place win and $500 U.S. Savings Bonds each for a project studying the hidden sugars in creamers, and Ellie Paty, Annsley Kelley, Maddison Hanzelik, and Katherine Lockwood received an Honorable Mention for a project entitled “Helping Sea Turtles Find Their Way.”
The students are taught by Katye Couch and Kristi Bryson. Dr. Mary Gromko, NSTA president, said, “eCYBERMISSION not only encourages students to be both creative and scientific, but also requires them to think critically while developing innovative solutions to some of their community’s most challenging issues.”