Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Record number of students shoot for the stars at 26th Annual The Tech Challenge

Record number of students shoot for the stars at 26th Annual
The Tech Challenge: Asteroids Rock!

Competition extended to accommodate more than 3,000 Bay Area participants

SAN JOSE, CA – More students than ever before will aim for top honors
at The Tech Challenge 2013 presented by Cisco, the Bay Area’s largest
team-design competition that harnesses the brainpower of innovative
youth to solve a real-world problem.

A record 3,000 Bay Area students will spill into The Tech Museum of
Innovation Saturday, April 20 and – in another first – Sunday, April 21 for
this year’s out-of-this-world challenge: Asteroids Rock!, in which students
must launch three delicate probes (read: eggs) intact onto the celestial
mass. Now in its 26th year, The Tech Challenge, a signature program of
the museum, reinforces 21st century skills of creativity, problem solving,
design, teamwork, leadership, presentation, risk-taking, perseverance,
and learning from failure.

“Learning happens through doing. Students engaged toward a common
goal increases learning and a connection with others,” said Tiffany
Strickland, program director for The Tech Challenge. “The Tech
Challenge lends itself to both high-tech and low-tech solutions: You can
be as successful with cardboard and rubber bands as others are with a
robot – but either way, students are engaged.”

The explosive growth of the program is the result of several key factors
that include: renewed academic focus on project-based learning, high
returns on deep community outreach, and broader program awareness,
museum officials explained. The extra day was added to accommodate
every student who wanted to participate, Strickland noted.

This year’s competition is already proving to be a landmark occasion: A
record 3,500 participants (1,400 last year), including 500 students from
San Diego and New York who will participate at their respective sites at
an earlier date; a record 49 percent of this year’s participants are girls (48
percent last year), and the highest involvement of Title I schools of any
science and technology competition in the region at 45 percent.

The Tech Challenge is an annual team- design challenge for students in
grades 5-12 that introduces and reinforces the science and engineering
design process with a hands-on project geared to solving a real-world

“Today’s students benefit from learning that promotes critical thinking
and collaboration,” said Sandra Wheatley, Cisco's director of global
community relations. “Students who use technology develop the technical
and learning skills that are necessary for success in higher education
and the workplace. And perhaps, most importantly, using technology
enhances students’ perception of what they can achieve.”

Designed to inspire the next generation of Silicon Valley innovators,
The Tech Challenge provides months of team learning in science,
engineering, and math, culminating in the Event Days on Saturday, April
20 and Sunday, April 21, 2013. Team efforts are celebrated in an awards
ceremony, recognizing everything from Best Overall Solution to Most
Spectacular Failure.

For 26 years, The Tech Challenge has allowed some 14,000 young girls
and boys throughout California, New York, and other regions to hone their
creativity and innovation on challenges that included building devices
to fight wildfires, remove invasive fish from a lake, explore an Egyptian
tomb, and survey craters on Mars.

For more information on The Tech Challenge, visit: http://www.thetech.org/

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