Three DoDEA Pacific teams win state in 2015 eCybermission competition
OKINAWA, Japan — Three Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific school teams became state-level winners in the 2015 eCybermission competition sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program. In the seventh-grade category for the “state” of DoDEA, Kadena Middle School team Island Beauties placed first and the Science Turtles from Osan Middle School placed second. The CR32PRO2 team from McCool Elementary/Middle School placed first in the sixth-grade category for the U.S. Territory of Guam. For the purposes of most national or international competitions, DoDEA is considered its own state.
The annual web-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics competition for teams in grades six to nine kicked off in August 2014. Participating schools were required to establish teams of three to four students guided by a team advisor. Each team selected a mission challenge from categories such as alternative sources of energy; environment; food, health, and fitness; forces and motion; national security and safety; robotics; and technology.
Each team proceeded to tackle their mission through research and experiments with an end goal of solving a real-world problem that impacts the broader community. The DoDEA teams faced and overcame a variety of exciting challenges throughout the process to create clever solutions. CR32PRO2 chose to develop a spy turtle that could patrol a harbor while the Island Beauties worked together to explore differences in the amount of bacteria between Japanese and American chicken meat. The Science Turtles used an Archimedes screw concept to design a unique propeller for moving ships more efficiently. The students had until early March to complete their research and provide their mission folders to a panel of virtual judges.
One unique aspect of the eCybermission competition is the collaboration using online, interactive workspaces. Team Talk, a virtual platform which includes discussion forums, chat rooms, and instant messaging, is an essential communication and research tool for each team. Students upload all work into their online mission folder including photos, survey questions, websites — essentially all of their research. This method helps guide the students through the problem-solving process, whether it involves mathematics, engineering, programming, etc. The Team Talk chat function even offers CyberGuides to provide mentorship and support as subject matter experts in the various disciplines being studied by the teams.
CR32PRO2 Team Coach Debora Moore said, "STEM activities are so important in education and we are thankful to have this opportunity to help our students get involved." The value of eCybermission goes beyond the more obvious educational benefits by building a sense of community and social improvement. Adding a deep sense of relevance to problem-solving nourishes student curiosity and helps them mature into more engaged citizens. As McCool E/MS student Heaven Reyes stated, "It was fun trying to solve a problem in our community because I really like to help people.”
Winning isn’t just about bragging rights, there are other tangible benefits according to Osan Middle School Coach and Teacher Thomas Carlin, “It's my science project class that I have registered in the eCybermission competition every year. The students have won a total of $10,000 in the last five years!”
The first-place state winners receive a $1,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds at maturity per student and second-place finishers each receive a $500 savings bond. The state-level winners move on to compete at the national level. National winners of the 2015 eCybermission competition will be announced in June.
About the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program:
The Youth Science Cooperative Outreach Agreement (YSCOA) consortium was formed by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and includes Virginia Tech as the lead organization, the Academy of Applied Science, The George Washington University, the Technology Student Association, the University of New Hampshire and, new member, NSTA.
AEOP is charged with addressing national needs for a STEM literate citizenry through a portfolio of educational opportunities which includes unique experiences, competitions, and high school internships that aim to spark an interest in STEM and encourage participants to pursue college and careers in STEM fields. The Army is committed to increasing the STEM talent pool in order to ensure our national security and global competitiveness. For more information on AEOP, visit www.usaeop.com.
About DoDEA Pacific:
The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, Department of Defense schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America’s heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific’s 49 schools serve more than 23,000 children of U.S. military and eligible DoD civilian personnel families stationed throughout the Pacific theater. The DoDEA Pacific teaching, administrative and school support team includes more than 3,000 full-time professionals. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea.