ODON – Naval science, technology, engineering and math or STEM, education program will host 30 elementary school teams as they compete in a global engineering challenge at WestGate Academy on Saturday.
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division youth STEM program organizers have organized their first VEX IQ Challenge consisting of teams from 16 regional elementary schools. The WestGate Academy VEX IQ engineering challenge is a qualifier for the larger, global tournament consisting of 20,000 teams from more than 40 countries.
“The VEX IQ Challenge is a prestigious robotics competition that exposes students to STEM at a very young age,” said Tina Closser, NSWC Crane STEM program coordinator and event organizer. “This competition provides an exciting learning environment for the students in this region to practice, collaborate and learn how to creatively solve problems with a group.”
“Never before, in our five-year history, have we hosted a robotics event of this kind at WestGate,” said Alexandria Hancock, events manager for Purdue@WestGate, which manages WestGate Academy. “We are providing diverse educational opportunities enabling area youth to participate in applied STEM programming.”
Many teams will travel more than an hour to compete in the WestGate tournament. Eight team awards will be distributed.
“There aren’t many VEX IQ competitions in our region, but with the number of teams here, WestGate Academy is an ideal location,” says Closser. “These students will compete in a variety of skill-based games and will have to demonstrate their programming, design, research and teamwork skills.”
About the STEM Program
NSWC Crane’s STEM reaches over 8,000 students through field trips, teacher trainings, a STEM lending library, and afterschool programs. The goals for STEM outreach are to facilitate STEM programs in local schools; motivate students, parents, and teachers to engage in STEM learning; cultivate an innovative, technically excellent STEM work force; and attract a technically excellent STEM work force in the future.