The following activities are derived from JASON Learning lab activities and make engaging in-class or after-school challenges for students. This set of challenges was featured in the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering Rising Stars) competition in 2014. Broadcom MASTERS is the nation's premier middle school science and engineering fair!
In this challenge, student teams design an experiment to control the height of an Alka-Seltzer rocket after blast-off. Students determine and identify an independent variable, run repeated trials, and collect and graph the data. At the conclusion of the challenge, teams use the graph they have generated to prepare their rocket for its final launch to reach its final destination, Mars, at a height to be determined by the judges. Each team has one opportunity to meet the challenge!
In this event, each team of students designs a house which can withstand hurricane force winds, rain and flooding (storm surge). The event leader provides materials and the specifications of the project. The project budget exacts requirements including: limitations on size, materials; mass; and time. Teams build on their basic knowledge of the power of Monster Storms from the JASON curriculum and knowledge of the properties of materials.
In this challenge, teams of students explore the law of conservation of energy, a fundamental physical concept. Students engineer and design a roller coaster from simple materials. Event leader provides the materials and the specifications of the project, including limitations on size, materials, mass and time. Teams must construct the coaster carefully and use some math along the way to calculate potential energy of coasters with varying size loops. Students strive to maximize the vertical difference between start and end points.
In this challenge, student teams build a wind generator from a template and measure its output. Students then extend what they learned to develop another model. Finally, teams estimate the equipment requirements for a planned alternative energy community.
Klein Independent School District recognizes the increasing demand for students to have learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Schools and other professionals must work together as a team in order to prepare students for these future opportunities.
In spring 2012, Alief ISD’s Superintendent H.D. Chambers along with Aldine ISD’s Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg heard about the JASON Project and the excitement it generated in science from fellow Houston area superintendent- Dr. Duncan Klussmann (Spring Branch ISD). H.D. Chambers, passionate about science education, invited a core group to learn more about The JASON Project. After an in-depth review of its content and unprecedented connections to scientists in the field, the core group comprising of Gina Tomas (Deputy Superintendent of Instruction), Dr. Karen Jacobs (Secondary Science Coordinator), Denia Puerto (Secondary Science Interventionist), and Gelyn Cornell (Elementary Science Coordinator), along with H.D., sought to officially bring The JASON Project to Alief ISD. Mr. Chambers, with the unique fortitude to see great opportunities for the students of Alief ISD, met with Dr. Eleanor Smalley, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The JASON Project, and Joni Baird, Chevron Public and Government Affairs Manager, and an initial donation in the amount of $235,182 was provided.
Southwest Schools is a small district of choice located in southwest Houston and is composed of a four year public high school, a middle school (grades 6 – 8), 2 elementary campuses, pre-kinder programs, and the Phoenix school (K-12) which provides educational services to several residential treatment programs. This TEA accredited district has a student population of approximately 2,000 students, of which 83% are Hispanic; 8% Black, non-Hispanic; 8% White, non-Hispanic; and 1% Asian/Pacific Islander or Two or More Races. Additionally, 87% of the students are economically disadvantaged and 50% are LEP (limited English proficient).
With continued support from Chevron grant funds, Cypress-Fairbanks progressed to the second year of its JASON Project during the 2014-15 school year. CFISD appreciates this substantial investment in learning (roughly half a million dollars thus far) and is grateful for the resources provided. The district added a newly constructed campus to its grand-scale implementation, which included the entire middle school level (now 18 campuses). Per login data, the initiative’s second year served 24,610 students in grades 6-7-8 (a near-match to enrollment) and 352 teachers. One objective measure of achievement was the STAAR science test at 8th grade, a state exam involving 8,139 students in CFISD. The district’s performance seemed to follow the statewide trend, with an overall 1% decline in the passing rate, along with a 3% drop in the percentage of students scoring at the Advanced level.
This morning was rather somber because the Argonauts lost three members today. Wyatt, Elias, and Rexana had to leave a day early. Despite the loss, we began our morning activities like any other day. Today’s activity was a surprise! Kristen told us that our activity was called High Rock. Everyone piled into the van without a single empty seat. During the ride over to High Rock the van played great island music that resulted in a spontaneous van dance party!