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Projects

The Academy curriculum is developed by area Master Teachers utilizing national and state science standards, area scientific expertise, and best practices in education. The Master Teachers also arrange tours, speakers and competitions, and assume primary teaching responsibilities for content delivery, hands-on experimentation, data collection, data analysis and final presentations. Three resident teachers typically assist with the curriculum presentation and daily student explorations and research.

In addition to the science activities, each day will include group sessions where students will be given the opportunity to apply what they have learned from the day’s events. This builds a better understanding of the day’s science activities and allows students to apply their knowledge in a hands on approach to science.

The week culminates with final presentations where each group presents their work and findings to an audience of federal and state ARC dignitaries, ORNL and ORAU dignitaries, parents, and friends.

For the 2020, the Academy has transitioned to a virtual format due to COVID-19. The students are divided into three research groups: 3D printing, micro:bits, and computer science and modeling. Each group is composed of 12 students. In a virtual setting, the groups research their particular topic, build models, collect and analyze data, learn to virtually collaborate and present their results in a recorded presentation.

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    3D Printing

    Over the course of the week, students learn the basics and application of 3D modeling and additive manufacturing. Once students understand the basics of 3D modeling and printing, they are given a problem and use the engineering design process to come up with a creative solution that they model, print, and test.

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    Micro:Bit Coding and Design Thinking

    Students spend their first week learning to code and program a tiny computer by completing several Micro:bit challenges. Later, they will learn and practice using design thinking and polish their entrepreneurial skills. Student teams will combine their newly acquired coding and design thinking skills to come up with an innovative solution to a problem they have identified in their community. Lastly, their entrepreneurial skills will be put to the test when they develop a commercial advertisement for their new product.

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    Computer Science and Modeling

    Student participate in an integrated science and computer science project. Students will learn to utilize various lenses to examine problems and determine solutions, develop and use StarLogo Nova computer models that help answer questions through scientific inquiry, and use critical thinking to assess which ideas are reasonable and which are not.