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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.

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.

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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.

NASA Exploration Design Challenge

The goal of the NASA Exploration Design Challenge is for students to research and design ways to protect astronauts from space radiation. NASA and Lockheed Martin are developing the Orion spacecraft that will carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit and on to an asteroid or Mars. Radiation exposure is a serious concern for astronauts and officials within the space exploration community. The Exploration Design Challenge seeks to inspire students to create practical solutions for the issues facing astronauts through engaging in STEM learning experiences.

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.

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“ 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.” 

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