HOWELL – Seventh grade science teacher Josh Langenberger was full of pride at a recent Board of Education meeting while recognizing several students who became finalists in a recent STEAM Tank competition.
STEAM – which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math – is more fun than traditional learning styles, and makes more sense to all types of learners because it’s based on the natural ways that children learn and are interested in things.
“Tonight is a wonderful opportunity to recognize some of our amazing students,” said Langenberger, although he added that they almost didn’t make it to the meeting. He and some other middle school students being recognized were participating in an academic bowl offsite, and the bus driver was stopping at both middle schools – first MS North, then MS South. He told the kids, “get off the bus,” and to text their parents to meet them at North, where the BOE meeting was being held.
“I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to recognize these amazing students here tonight.”
STEAM Tank is modeled after the popular TV show Shark Tank, where students create innovative projects and present them before a judging panel of entrepreneurs, business leaders and inventors. Langenberger said he offered the opportunity to 24 students in class and formed five teams, three of which were selected to compete in the regional competition in Trenton.
Here’s three of the STEAM Tank projects students created:
- Flex Ring – Students integrated metal with a polymer that allows a jewelry ring to have a metallic appearance and be flexible enough to come off in an emergency situation.
- Smart Brush Plus – Students used 3D printers to create a prototype and microprocessor that detects how much bacteria is in your mouth while brushing your teeth. It is then synced back to an app accessible by mom or dad to let them know if their children are brushing their teeth properly.
- Your Path – What do you want to be when you grow up? What jobs will be left when this generation graduates and enters the workforce? Students created an app that answers these questions, taking data and information based on keywords, searches and interests to help youngsters focus on different career paths and give them idea of where they might want to focus their time and activities. It helps place them in environments and towards opportunities that will lead to success.
One of the STEAM Tank judges recommended that the students take their Your Path creation to the Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge next year.
“This is what’s coming out of 7th grade students,” added Langenberger. “I look forward to taking them in October to Atlantic City to give their final presentations, and I’m sure we have a few winners among them.”