One of The Education Workshop’s newest initiatives is STEM Saturdays: free drop-in sessions that give people a chance to engage in fun and interesting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math projects hosted by their local Microsoft Store*. This month’s STEM Saturdays will test your engineering and data science skills, as The Education Workshop has partnered with Mattel Hot Wheels® Speedometry ™ to challenge you with a new Forces and Motion project.
During these free, drop-in workshops, participants will sensor-monitor cars as they compete on the iconic Hot Wheels orange track, while at the same time learning about kinetic and potential energy. By modifying cars with a simple paper clip, students, teachers, and parents can measure their car’s speed, the force of impact during collision, and see the shift from potential to kinetic energy as the car completes its journey around the track.
This learning by doing project demonstrates how mass can influence an object’s relationship to speed and encourages participants to experiment adding mass by gluing washers to their car. The data visualizations are presented in a custom Excel workbook that plots the car’s speed and energy shift in real-time and rewards the fastest runs by posting them on a leaderboard, making this a true physics challenge.
The Forces and Motion project extends The Education Workshop’s mission to democratize STEM education by removing the economic barriers to entry. Through their website (aka.ms/hackingstem), they are helping educators build scientific measuring instruments made from inexpensive, everyday objects like drinking straws and paper cups. When said objects are connected to a microcontroller, they can stream real-time data into customized Excel worksheets. These free, inquiry-based, middle school activities tuck mechanical, electrical and software engineering into each project and bring data science to life through a set of interdisciplinary, standards-aligned lesson plans written in collaboration with teachers for teachers.
Over the last year, the Education Workshop team has published six complete units that range from building anemometers to tuned mass dampers to robotic hands. They have set up pop-up classrooms around the world to support over 18,000 educators experimenting with their activities, while helping them gain confidence as they introduce 21st Century technical skills to their students.
Find your nearest Microsoft Store for information about STEM Saturday events taking place in your area in September, beginning Saturday, Sept. 9th. Anyone, including teachers, students, and parents, can attend STEM Saturdays or the entire range of free programs Microsoft Store hosts year-round, empowering youth by providing direct access to technology and hands-on learning. Learn more about Hacking STEM and our lesson plans here.
While you’re shopping for practical items for in-class projects, it’s also a great time to consider some digital help from our Back to School Discounted Apps Collection. Now you can get heavy-hitters like Complete Anatomy with 20 percent off Upgrade (Free, with upgrade), letting you bring the human body to 3D life for less. Get creative in film school or just experience your personal videos in a completely new dimension with Movie Edit Pro Windows Store Edition (50 percent off; $29.99, regularly $59.99). And in your downtime, create music – beats, loops, even full multi-track songs – with Stagelight, now 30 percent off select IAPs (Free, with IAP options).