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Founded in 1989, the JASON Project is a non-profit organization that aims to connect students to real-life science experiences and provide teacher resources with the goal of encouraging students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers. As part of the week-long Broadcom MASTERS competition held in Washington, DC this October, the JASON Project created and hosted four challenges.
Broadcom MASTERS finalists are evaluated not only on the presentation of the science research project that qualified them to participate, but also on their ability to work collaboratively in teams on STEM-based challenges throughout the week. In teams of 5, finalists navigate through multiple challenges over two days run by groups such as Engineers Without Borders, the Maryland Science Center, and the JASON Project while judges observe and take note of each finalist’s skill level, in not only the STEM fields but also leadership and teamwork.
The four challenges hosted by the JASON Project included “Energy Transfers and Transportation,” where finalists used a variety of materials to move marbles across the room, creating five different energy transfers; “Crash Test,” where finalists applied physics and math to carry out a successful egg drop and come up with suggestions for improving subsequent efforts; “Build a Better Building,” where finalists used materials such as Play-Doh, straws, tape, glue, construction paper, aluminum foil, and rubber bands to design a “house” that could sustain hurricane-force winds (as demonstrated by a leafblower); and “Alternative Energy,” where finalists covered bottles of different mixtures with balloons to track whether gas was created, among other activities.
Andre Radloff of the JASON Project, who was leading the “Crash Test” activity, said that the challenges had each been created to match up to specific STEM skills. For instance, “Crash Test” used elements of physics, mechanical engineering, and math. Andre said the goal of the JASON Project is to have teachers “teach science in a way that gets kids to use critical thinking skills and allows students to develop the required basic skills needed for entry-level STEM careers by exposing them to real data and researchers.”
This was the first collaboration between the JASON Project and the Broadcom MASTERS. For photos of the challenges and more, check out Broadcom MASTERS on Facebook.
Alaina Gassler is a ninth grader from West Grove, Pennsylvania, and the recipient of this year’s $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the top award at the Broadcom MASTERS.
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Alexis MacAvoy is a high school freshman from Hillsborough, California, and the recipient of the 2019 Broadcom MASTERS $10,000 Robert Wood