By Soulihe Nida
Students sat in class, mesmerized by the board. With pensive expressions, they raised their hands one by one to answer the questions of Ten80 instructor Soulihe Nida along with Engineering Instructional Assistants Sahan De Alwis and Travon McMillian. Students laughed as they engaged in fun activities to teach them critical thinking and the most significant parts of teamwork.
The first weeks were filled with small exercises to introduce the approximately forty students to one another. They were taught the beginnings of Ten80 curriculum, how it relates to the professional world, and molded their minds to be problem solvers by utilizing all their STEAM skills. Students collaborated through small exercises to understand their personal skill sets.
“The first two weeks, the students were focused on understanding the strengths and their weakness, and teaching them organization,” explained University of Maryland student Sahan De Alwis. “That way, students would know their choices in certain tasks, kids with technical skills would be tasked differently from others, while kids with leadership skills would take on a different responsibility.”
Students went through rules for brainstorming, engineering design process and defining constraints to a project.
“I’ve been able to learn how to look at things differently and think outside the box,” explained 8th grade student Destiny Dureke from College Park Academy.
The student learned the sources of energy and are planning to create a solar powered oven. Students utilize a NASCAR hot wheels set to design a track and run a small electromagnetic powered car.
“I learned to try being creative and original,” said Kimali Brown, a rising 9th grader at Bladensburg High School.
With all the fun, students understand the foundation of Ten80 as being able to cooperate with not only team members but coaches, as they work in a team-oriented atmosphere through race engineering where they learn problem solving fundamentals, how to market their team and how to optimize the mechanical systems of a remote-control car.
Students learn the skills to thrive as professionals through a project based education within National STEM League.