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!
Alternative Energy! (From Infinite Potential, JASON’s Energy Unit)
Areas: Engineering, Physics, Mathematics
Time: 1 hour
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.
It’s a Blast! (From Infinite Potential, JASON’s Energy Unit)
Areas: Physics, Mathematics
Time: 1 hour
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!
Build a Better Building (From Monster Storms, JASON’s Weather Unit)
Areas: Mechanical Engineering, Architecture
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
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.
Let’s Roll! (From Terminal Velocity, JASON’s Forces & Motion Unit)
Time: 1 hour
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.