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Schools win statewide awards for efforts in the classroom

Two schools withinColletonCountywon awards at the Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center (TCTC) onThunderbolt Roadtook first place in a statewide competition held at the North Charleston Coliseum on April 24

STEMColleton students at the TCTC took first place after they constructed a floating concrete boat that was able to move under natural power in preparation for the South Carolina Innovation Expo 2012, sponsored by theSTEMCenterof Excellence at the Citadel In Charleston. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Instructors Lynn Stroble, Katie Crosby, and Magellan Mambou worked closely with the students on the project. Crosby pointed out, however that all of the instructors at TCTC and Colleton County High School were involved in the project because the project combined the use of mathematics, engineering, masonry, culinary arts, social studies, and language arts. “Virtually all study areas of TCTC and CCHS were used to work on this project,” Stroble said.

The actual testing to determine whether the boat would actually float came on a Monday after it had finished drying when the construction was completed the previous week. The test was successful.

A previous test with a similar boat also floated, but a crack in the hull caused it to leak, leading to the second try. The second boat was actually crafted from a mixture of concrete and liquid latex, donated by ChemMasters. It was 5/16 of an inch thick and was shaped in between two boat-shaped molds lubricated with transmission fluid to help with extraction purposes when the concrete dried.

Malcolm Strong explained the liquid latex makes the boat stronger, lighter, and less water-absorbent. The Students also had to build a website as part of this project.

Also, STEMColleton students from Colleton Middle School (CMS) took home trophies for Best Website and Best Presentation, which was an intensive question and answer session between the students and engineers.

The students won Best Website after working on a rather unusual project. If you would like a glimpse into the future, take a look at a project that some CMS students have been involved in.  Some of Karen Lloyd’s math students competed in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Innovation Design Challenge sponsored by the STEMCenterat the Citadel.  The Middle School Challenge was called “Find Your Inner Tech”.  Students from each class were asked to create something based on the STEM idea that would benefit their community.  Our students invented and “i-dog”.  The “i-dog” was made from Legos and will respond to voice commands such as go, turn left and turn right.
Lloyd’s class placed first in the Best Presentation and Best Website.  You may visit the project website at ccmsstem.org for more details about this project including a video of the “i-dog” in action.

Lloyd and her students would like to thank the following teachers for their support in this endeavor:  Sheri Stone, Ryan Pearson, Jane McRoy and also Patti Drawdy, Curriculum Coordinator and STEM Coach.

The students and instructors associated with these projects appreciate the financial support received from Rhodes Oil Company, Tailored Agri-Business Solutions, ChemMasters, and Scott Wheeler. Funding is still needed to support STEM projects and activities. Funding may be sent to the Thunderbolt Career andTechnologyCenter,1069 Thunderbolt Drive,Walterboro,S.C.29488.