CEC’s Tribots team brings STEM to life


Standing in front of the US Army Dragster are, from left, David Craig, Jonathan Craig, Mike Sessions, Brad Jenkins, Jocelyn Singh, Nathan Buck, Cordell Kadlick, Alex Rutherford, Casey Tillery, Rebecca Olney, Troy Mapp, Tyler Warr, Cooper Goldbeck and Mitchell Busby. 

The TriBots, an extra-curricular club sponsored by the CEC’s Engineering and Technology Department, have been awarded one of ten statewide STEM grants sponsored by the U.S. Army.

These grants allow participation in the Ten80 STEM NASCAR Initiative during the 2013-14 school year in which team members collaborate, create and compete in the Student Racing Challenge (SRC).

This year-long activity immerses interested CCSS high school team members in the real-life applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts and careers. The CEC TriBots are open to any CCSS high school team member who is interested and committed in participating in this extracurricular activity. More information about the TriBots can be found at www.gacec.com/Staff/browns/index.htm.

The Ten80 SRC is a STEM curriculum and competition league which has been adopted by 29 states and contributes its rapid growth to the adoption of Core Curriculum Content and Next Generation Science Standards ensuring that today's youth will meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

The CEC TriBots, which also sponsors teams in BEST Robotics, VEX Robotics, MATE-ROV, TEAMS, Lemelson/MIT InvenTeams and AMP’d, gets team members involved in extracurricular educational initiatives that are research-based, compelling for youth and reach a wide population of interest.

The level of engineering and teamwork is reflective of the CEC’s leading-edge technology and desire to put team members to the test as they work to optimize performance of high tech tools such as a 1:10 scale radio-controlled (RC) racecar, fuel cells, robots flight vehicles including helicopters. Team members collaborate and compete through challenges that directly parallel the arduous preparation of real racing, engineering and executive teams.

CEC and Smokey Road MS Engineering and Technology teachers and sponsors Scott and Pam Brown say they love how the curriculum and hands-on activities engages their TriBots in a way that allows team members to seek out learning about Engineering, Technology, Mathematics and Science.

The U.S. Army sponsorship of Ten80 makes it possible for team members to get involved in this project-based education and the integration of STEM learning into all aspects of formal and informal learning.

“Motorsports is one of the few sports that actively uses science, technology, engineering and math in real time,” said Jeff Thompson, mechanical engineer and Vice President of Technology for Ten80 Education. “For every one driver, hundreds of technicians and engineers are behind the scenes making each week’s win a possibility.”

“Most race team owners do a lot more than just racing,” he added. “They apply their engineering and executive knowledge to other industries and topics. Our student teams operate the same way."

With more than 14 million possible setup combinations for the car, Ten80 Student Racing Challenge offers a wide range of subjects for investigation with real mathematics and data at the center of them, according to Terri Stripling, President of Ten80 Education. From the basic scientific method to upper level calculus, the program works to bring real-world math modeling to team members of all backgrounds and talents.

Like professional racing teams, SRC teams also seek sponsorship and media presence to earn points as well as notoriety. Point’s leaders and regional winners compete in the Ten80 National Finals, a fast-paced weekend of racing, testing and presentations similar to those at a next generation science and technology fair.

“We’ve worked hard over the last decade to create a focused and engaging curriculum and coalition to support team members at all ability levels,” said Beverly Simmons, former middle school science teacher, Georgia Presidential Awardee and Co-chair of Ten80 Foundations, a 501(c)3 organization and sanctioning body for the student league. “We couldn’t be more proud of our partnership with NASCAR, our higher education affiliates and now the U.S. Army. This will take this important mission to a whole new level.”

The core of Ten80 Education was founded in the 1990s when a team of teachers spearheaded by Simmons reached out to their community looking for ways to develop authentic classroom applications for math and science.

Though they didn’t know it at the time, the engineers, technicians and professors who answered the questions were forming the first Ten80 Engineer-Educator teams. Since then, Ten80 Education has continued to pair STEM professionals with educators to provide professional development for K-12 teachers and to develop innovative and effective supplemental K-12 programs.

On Saturday, October 5 twenty teams from across Georgia and Alabama will be descending on the campus of the CEC to compete in this year’s Southeastern Regional Competition. This event is free and open to the public to come and watch. More information will be forthcoming. Any CCSS team member interested in being a part of this year’s CEC TriBots Ten80 SRC should contact Scott Brown at the CEC to be added to the notification list. Mr. Brown’s email address is scott.brown@cowetaschools.org.

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