Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

June 27, 2014

Students learn valuable STEM skills

Two area students attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Workshop June 2-5.

Alexandra Cottingham, Batesville, daughter of Rebecca Krieger Cottingham and Michael Cottingham, who will be a Batesville Middle School eighth-grader, and Sara Bauer, Sunman, daughter of Stephanie and Steve Bauer, who will be a Sunman-Dearborn Middle eighth-grader, joined nearly 90 other students on campus.

Cottingham said she wanted to attend “because I love science, which is part of STEM and is important in our daily lives. I am also interested in technology and mathematics. I also thought that it would be an interesting experience to attend a workshop at the famous West Point military academy.

“It was really cool to be on the (New York) campus .... (It) is historical, and it is very beautiful. As the workshop is during the summer, the campus is a bit quiet. However, some of the cadets are still around. The workshop is taught by West Point cadets and some senior instructors, and it is also interesting to learn about their experiences. We were split up into teams, and we stayed in dormitories at West Point .... We had a scavenger hunt one night which took us all over the West Point campus in search of the hunted items.”

Bauer noted, “We did different things each day.” One of the activities included learning how to fly a drone, which happened to be her favorite.

Other projects and experiments included “learning how to make a bridge design with a computer program and learning how to program robots to go around a course and do things according to our instructions,” Cottingham revealed. “We did projects to learn about physics, and we also had a project to design and build a model airplane.”

The egg competition was the part she enjoyed the most. “For this, we had to design a device to pick up and lift an egg from the floor without breaking it or touching it with our hands. Everyone had some really interesting ideas, and I also had a lot of fun with my team while we were trying to come up with a solution by working together.

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