News from the STEM Office
USNA at Liberty Science Center
Posted on: February 28, 2014 08:00 EST by Sarah Durkin
New Jersey middle school students learned what it takes to be an engineer at a STEM Day hosted by the Liberty Science Center (LSC) in partnership with the United States Naval Academy (USNA).
100 middle school students from Infinity Institute in Jersey City and Science Park High School in Newark participated in a full day of STEM activities led by 8 USNA midshipmen and faculty members, Gwen Gray and Richard O'Brien, along with LSC educators.
Students learned about underwater exploration, fluid dynamics, materials properties and engineering, as they designed and built different kinds of gliders. Students competed individually to build hoop gliders that soar though the air, made only of straw and paper. Then, they worked in teams to design and build underwater gliders out of a variety of materials.
Students learned first-hand the process of engineering, and greatly enjoyed the challenge. One student remarked, "I liked being able to put our skills together to make a final glider. I had fun."
"The USNA STEM event at the Liberty Science Center (LSC) succeeded beyond my expectations in part due to the planning and midshipmen involvement and in part due to the great facilities at LSC," said Prof. O'Brien, "The students from Jersey City (the town where I was born) started with the hoop glider module and showed ingenuity and enthusiasm. For the underwater glider module, the midshipmen took charge of teaching the individual aspects (material, control surfaces, and weight distribution) and coordinating the final glider competition. The midshipmen's blend of a professional attitude and genuine engagement left the students with a positive impression of STEM and the Naval Academy."