Students from Cincinnati Public Schools learned teamwork and a little engineering — and saved some eggs — during the kickoff of the GE Triple E program October 17 at GE Aviation’s Learning Centre in Evendale.
About 110 students from Roselawn Condon School and Shroder High School worked in teams to design “egg rovers” — handmade devices crafted to land eggs safely from seven feet high, using only materials provided such as newspaper, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, craft sticks and masking tape.
Triple E (Educate. Equip. Empower.) is an immersion program for Cincinnati Public Schools’ middle-school students that emphasizes STEM concepts – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program, now in its third year, uses GE employees to serve as mentors and to work with students throughout the school year. Dorcedra Glover, GE’s Triple E coordinator, said the company partners with CPS specifically to coach students through STEM classes.
Preparing students for real-world skills and job opportunities is a key component of CPS’ My Tomorrow high school initiative, launched August 2014. CPS’ bold vision for the education of the future combines high expectations, technology and mentoring to assure that all students graduate primed for success.
Huntley Myrie, GE’s executive administer of Triple E , said GE mentors will work with students and teachers at the two schools throughout the school year, with student teams finishing by producing Capstone Projects, in-depth, technology-rich looks at topics students learned about in core classes.
“This is to learn the hard concepts of math and science, and also the soft concepts of presentations, teamwork and listening,” Myrie said.
At the kickoff event, students were divided into 22 teams, with each team putting together an egg rover in about an hour. In the design-and-build process, the students explored the concepts of forces and motion, and studied up on Newton’s Law of Motion.
The winners — a team of eighth-graders from Roselawn Condon: Jawuan Parks, Thomas Allen, Mykevian Forman, DaWayne Williams and Alene Bowman. A team of Shroder eighth-graders came in second.
“It was good to work with people and help each other on our skills,” Allen said. “It was a lot of fun building and working with the others.”
His group created the winning egg container out of card stock, fastening the sides and bottom together with rubber bands, and then inflating a balloon and putting it inside a plastic grocery bag and tying the balloon to the container with string.
Amber Turner, a GE employee working with the Roselawn Condon team, dropped the egg inside its rover from seven feet — and the egg survived. Two team members covered their eyes, not wanting to watch the drop for fear of egg breakage.
“I didn’t know if it would survive or not,” Jawuan Parks said.
Although there had been some disagreement about how to build the egg rover, the group was relieved when the final design worked.
The team also had to answer three questions about acceleration, energy, force, velocity and the laws of motion. The students took turns studying the material and then quizzing each other before a judge visited the room.
“We learned how to work as a team,” DaWayne Williams said. “We had problems, but we worked it out as a team.”
Dr. O’dell Owens, president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, told students after the competition that they should go home and remember the day.
“Think about what they were trying to teach you,” he said. “That will make you grow.”
He said students are getting a gift in the GE mentors who will meet with them over the next months.
“(These are) the people who want (you) to get ahead,” Owens said, gesturing around the room. “People here want you to get ahead. They want you to talk about STEM. They want you talk about GE.”
Don’t let your pasts get in the way of your futures, Owens told them.
“How can English and math be hard,” Owens said. “You conquered that life piece, which is your strength. You have advantages I didn’t have. You have all this information in front of you. Education is important.”