New findings from the Afterschool & STEM System Building Evaluation 2016 show the power of STEM learning in afterschool. See below for results from the evaluation and check out the STEM Ready America compendium for more insight on the impact of STEM education.
The application for Florida teams to participate in the 2017 Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is now open! To apply fill out this form.
The Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is a FREE 5 week program that introduces students to computer programming, robotics, and space engineering.
For more information, you may visit the competition website.
It was a great year for the Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program in Florida. The program kicked off on May 21st with a training for Educators at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex inside the Center for Space Education (CSE). 6 teams participated, including Bok Academy of Lake Wales, Odyssey Charter School of Palm Bay and the Marjorie S. Fisher, Max M. Fisher, Naoma Donnelley Haggin, and Florence De George Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. The students then joined their educators at the CSE on June 20th for Field Day, where they played a physical game that helped to exemplify this year’s game objective.
.Zero Robotics is a robotics programming competition from MIT, where the robots are satellites called SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The objective of the game changes each year, motivated by a problem of interest to NASA and MIT. Multiple states across the country participate. The Florida Afterschool Network (FAN) serves as the coordinator for the state of Florida. The free 5 week long summer program introduces students to coding via a graphical interface. All teams submit code at the end of each week that is run in a virtual simulation. A regional winner from each state is declared at the end of Week 4. The teams within each state then collaborate to improve the regional winning team’s code before submitting it at the end of Week 5. The final competition is physically run on the SPHERES, aboard the ISS, with help of the current astronaut crew, and broadcast live. This year, Bok Academy had the winning regional code and took the lead on submitting the final code for Florida.
The 2016 Finals were held on August 12th. Florida’s teams gathered at the CSE to watch the live downlink from the ISS. Students were welcomed in the morning by Astronaut Memorial Foundation president, Senator Thad Altman. Kennedy Space Center’s Associate Director, Kelvin Manning then spoke to the students about happenings at KSC and encouraged them to continue work in STEM. The competition aboard the ISS began, conducted by astronauts Jeffrey Williams and Oleg Skripochka. Everyone watched anxiously as Florida’s code, which was up first, was run. The code scored impressively and the room erupted with applause. Students then watched anxiously as the other state’s codes were run while visiting booths set up around the room from NASA, CASIS, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and Florida Polytechnic University. Former Astronaut Captain Jon McBride stopped by in the afternoon to address the students with another inspiring speech. As the competition neared the end, the room held its breath as the final teams’ codes were run. In the end, Florida’s code held strong and Florida was declared the national winner!
Thank you to everyone who helped support the 2016 Zero Robotics program in Florida, especially our sponsors at Bright House Networks. And congratulations to all of the educators and students across the country who worked so hard this summer, you are all rockstars!
TOP Left: Fromer Astronaut Captain Jon McBride addresses students; Middle: Florida Senator Thad Altman and Kennedy Space Center Associate Director Kelvin Manning; Right: Trent Smith of NASA preforms a Quantum Levintation Demonstration. BOTTOM Left: Students explore an interactive touchscreen of the from CASIS; Middle: Students from the Robotics Association of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University speak with students; Right: Students experience the ISS via a Virtual Reality Headset
The Florida Afterschool Network is excited to announce that we will be taking over the Planetary Lander ‘Egg-Drop’ Competition (PLEDC)!
The annual Planetary Lander ‘Egg-Drop’ Competition (PLEDC) challenges K-12 students across Florida to design and build their own lander in which a raw-egg must survive a drop of almost 20-feet, just as a real NASA lander would on the Moon, Mars or an Asteroid.
The 2016 PLEDC Competition will be held on Saturday, April 30th 2016 at the Kennedy Space Center. Informal and formal students are invited to compete. Check out the competition website at: http://planetarylander.blogspot.com/ to register and subscribe to our newsletter!
Lights On Afterschool, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, is an annual nationwide celebration that calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs. This year, the Florida Afterschool Network celebrated with a STEM focused, Star Wars themed event at the Kennedy Space Center. With support from Bright House Networks, over 100 students from Brevard Afterschool Programs attended the event.
The morning began with “Jedi training” at the KSC IMAX theater followed by stories from a real life Jedi (astronaut) at the Astronaut Encounter theater. The children then came to the Center for Space Education for lunch and were greeted by some of their favorite Star Wars characters!
After lunch, the children rotated through hands-on STEM activities. At one station they used different types of light to explore the frozen worlds, at another they built their own lander, and at the last station they saw a Quantum Levitation demonstration from the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and took a spin on a hover board.
We would like to thank the Astronaut Memorial Foundation, members of the 501st legion, our NASA volunteers, instructors and coordinators of Brevard Afterschool, CASIS, and Bright House Networks for making this celebration for our local afterschool students so special.
Please check out the video from Brevard Afterschool Programs about the event: