## Optimus Prime Spinoff Promotion & Research Challenge (OPSPARC)

Spinoffs are like OPTIMUS PRIME- they come from Space to solve problems on Earth!

NASA spinoffs are technologies originally created for space and modified into everyday products used here on Earth—including memory foam, invisible braces, firefighting equipment, artificial limbs, scratch-resistant lenses, aircraft anti-icing systems, shoe insoles, water filters/purification, cochlear implants, satellite television, and long-distance telecommunications.

## NOAA Design Challenge

The purpose of the NOAA Design Challenge is for students to research and design the most effective strategy for preventing or removing nonpoint source pollution from the water of the Chesapeake Bay or the streams that flow into it.

## JHU APL Challenge: Creating Connectomes: Mapping the Mouse Brain

**Challenge Description:**

In this challenge, students will identify neural synapses in the mouse brain using electron microscopy images. Students will have the opportunity to extend their knowledge by collaborating with students in computer science and/or algebra II classes to develop an automated synapse detector for the Applied Physics Lab. Lastly, students will design and carry out an investigation where they create a neural circuit to test how manipulating a factor within the circuit can affect neural communication.

**Getting Started**

## Loyola University Challenge: Wireless Networks

**Challenge Description:**

Students will increase the signal strength of a wireless network. To boost the strength, students will design and build a *cantenna* – an antenna made out of a metal can and several other parts. Students will build several cantennas and measure the signal strength and/or the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for their cantenna samples to investigate how can diameter, length, and signal source placement affect the cantenna performance.

## UMBC Challenge: 3D Mapping of Trees

**UMBC Challenge:**

Trees store carbon, helping fight climate change caused by our emissions of carbon to the atmosphere. By mapping the heights of trees and measuring tree diameters, it is possible to determine how much carbon is in the trees of a specific area. Students will use aerial photography by balloons or kites to make a 3D map of the trees in their school or neighborhood, and to measure tree diameters. Using these measurements students will estimate the carbon storage of the trees in their school or neighborhood.

**Teachers TryScience**

*“ Teachers TryScience is an excellent new resource for science teachers that want to strengthen their instruction in project-based learning. Not only does it offer free, high quality lessons, but it links them with strategies and resources that will give teachers the skills and knowledge to make the most of them in their classrooms.” *

*Margaret Honey, President
New York Hall of Science*

**Teachers TryScience: Free lessons and supports for teachers**

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**STEM-Centric Lessons**

Find STEM-centric lessons on the Maryland State Department of Education's Curriculum Management system found here >> https://msde.blackboard.com/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_219_1

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**Logarithms**

Students will discover patterns within logarithmic functions to identify logarithmic properties. They will analyze and apply logarithmic functions to sound frequencies and earthquakes. A STEM Specialist will help students interpret their findings and engage students in hands-on learning experiences that allow them to draw connections between course content ant the work performed by STEM professionals.

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**Systems of Equations**

In this lesson, students will build on experiences with solving systems of equations from middle school to focus on justification of the methods used and the real-world application of equations. The lesson begins with a review of systems of equations. Students then solve for unknowns and justify the process employed for solution development. They will assess the most efficient method for solving systems. They will then apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems.