In Northern New Jersey, a STEM League brings students together for competition much as athletic leagues do.
Using soda chargers, students responded to a challenge to make armor for an egg and then fire projectiles at it. Cardboard constructions cradled the eggs for protection against the wooden missles.
“Fire in the hole!” technology education teacher James Dreschel shouted, launching soda charger-powered wooden projectile across the cafeteria floor toward the protected egg target. Students celebrated the remaining intact eggs with victorious fist pumps. But sometimes when eggs were cracked, groans and laughs would signal failure.
The interscholastic STEM league is now in its second year. It was started by teachers who wanted to create opportunities for kids to compete using practical applications of engineering, much as they do with athletics.
“The whole idea is to make kids motivated and trying to apply STEM together with teamwork where everyone has a talent,” said Drechsel, who came up with the idea for the league after attending a wrestling meet.