National Student Association Extends STEM Opportunities for Middle School Students

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Summary: The Technology Student Association will expand TEAMS to include middle school students

A program of the Technology Student Association (TSA), TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) encourages students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers by showing them how engineering impacts everyday life and how engineers help solve social and community problems. TEAMS provides an opportunity for these students to work collaboratively to solve real-world engineering challenges and apply their math and science knowledge in practical, creative ways. This high school competition has been in existence for more than 35 years.

Students interested in pursuing careers in STEM must begin the process early in school in order to be competitive for admission to a college engineering program. Middle school is the perfect time to introduce activities that pique student interest and build on STEM learning. Recent reports have identified troublesome science and math achievement gaps and signaled the need for renewed efforts to cultivate a competitive 21st century workforce.

“Today, only 14 percent of all undergraduate students enroll in what we call the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, and math. We can do better than that. We must do better than that. If we’re going to make sure the good jobs of tomorrow stay in America, we need to make sure all our companies have a steady stream of skilled workers.”
President Barack Obama
Durham, North Carolina
June 14, 2011

This critical shortage of qualified students choosing an engineering career path can only be alleviated by introducing them to engaging STEM activities sooner than later. Based on this urgent need, TSA announces that it will expand its TEAMS program to include a middle school competition beginning in the fall of 2012. This new competition will provide middle school students with the opportunity to apply their math and science skills to real-world engineering challenges and will include the following components:

  • An electronic portfolio that a team of students (4 – 8 per team) builds which will address a current, real-world challenge.
  • A 40 question multiple choice test based on provided resource materials, student research, and math and science knowledge. This test is taken by each team of students.
  • A four question essay component based on provided resource materials, student research, and math and science knowledge. This component is taken by each team of students.
  • The opportunity to compete in a culminating event at the annual national TSA conference.
  • Recognition at the local, state and national level.

During February and March 2012, more than 1,000 high school teams from across the country competed in the 2012 competition. The 2012 competition challenged students in two areas: the need to engineer better medicines and advance health informatics. Teams of students spent the weeks prior to the competition researching related topics and practicing for the competition day challenge. National winners (available in May) are determined by a combination of the teams’ state score with the teams’ score for eight essay questions also based on the scenarios. TSA’s goal is to include 1,000 middle schools in the 2013 TEAMS middle school challenge.

About TSA
TSA is a national organization devoted exclusively to the needs of students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Open to young people enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA’s membership includes over 150,000 middle and high school students in 2,000 schools spanning 48 states. TSA partners with universities and other organizations to promote a variety of STEM competitions and opportunities for students and teachers. TSA is supported by educators, parents and business leaders who believe in the need f or a technologically literate society. From engineers to business managers, our alumni credit TSA with a positive influence in their lives. Visit http://www.tsaweb.org for more information.

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