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Students Launch School Year with NASA Career Fair and Astronaut Visits

Article written by Sully Recine with CCSD Office of Strategy & Communications: http://www.ccsdschools.com/news/what_s_new/students_launch_school_year_with_n_a_s_a

On Wednesday, Aug. 29 almost 1000 Charleston County School District students from over 20 schools attended the STEM Career Fair where they saw demonstrations of NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.

The event, hosted by Charleston County Government in conjunction with an event fostering partnerships with local businesses and NASA, allowed students to explore STEM-related businesses and participate in hands-on learning experiences and interact with NASA staff.

As part of the Career Fair, retired astronaut Dr. Don Thomas spoke to the attending middle and high school students and later in the week visited students at St. Andrews School of Math and Science, Angel Oak Elementary, Mary Ford Elementary, Sanders-Clyde School and North Charleston Elementary. 


Chad Vail, Work-based Learning Partnerships Coordinator, CCSD Career & Technology Education Support Team, said career exploration of this nature not only improve academic performance but improves students’ knowledge of career options during the critical years when they are also beginning to venture beyond the orbit of their parents.NASA

The students listened intently as Thomas described his time in space and the many space flight experiences he had. Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Thomas became an astronaut in July 1991. Asked by a student what he took from those experiences, Thomas replied, “it changed me in two ways. I now have a keen appreciation for how fragile the earth is. And secondly, ask yourself how you view your place on planet earth. When I am asked where I’m from I say, ‘I’m from earth’,” he told the students. “We all are. We are all earthlings here and we all have to do our part to take better care of our planet.”

SPAWAR was one of the over 25 business vendors on hand. Kelly Thompson, Career Fairs and Career Academies Project Lead for SPAWAR said their participation in the Career Fair and similar events is for a number of reasons. “It helps not only in the workforce but in the community as a whole. But the goals is to get kids interested in science and math, and introduce them to SPAWAR and show them that this is a place that they can come and work locally. We want to keep kids in this area for our workforce.”

Their booth featured Meeper Bots which demonstrated mechanical engineering aspects of toys made of legos with blue tooth capability. The students learned about aero-dynamics, load and various aspects that in turn introduced them to the SPAWAR robotics program.

NASAWando High School 10th grader Ian Barrett was excited to attend the career fair with his engineering class and listen to a real astronaut speak about living in space. And while he has not yet determined his career path, engineering seems like a fun choice he said.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our community for collaboration and commerce,” said event organizer, and Charleston County Government Operations Officer Kevin Limehouse. “We feel this expo was more than just connections with NASA. It allowed like-minded businesses and organizations to meet and work together.”

 

Check out the gallery of pictures from the event below – additional pictures posted to the CCSD Facebook page.

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Middle & High Schools Compete in 8th Annual SeaPerch Underwater Robotics Challenge

logo_seaperchMarch 8, 2018 – North Charleston, SC – Middle and high schools from throughout the Charleston region and beyond participated in the 8th annual SeaPerch Charleston Challenge hosted by Charleston County School District’s Science Department at Danny Jones Recreational Complex in North Charleston.

IMG_4853Check out this awesome video on the event from North Charleston!

Students competed in a variety of events, both in the pool with the underwater robots they built and tested as a team, and in interviews with the judges on how they worked together to prepare for the event.

The staging of the event was a terrific success again this year thanks to CCSD Science Curriculum Specialist Rodney Moore, and an amazing group of volunteers from SPAWAR and other Lowcountry STEM Collaborative partners. Volunteer divers were in the pool setting up the course by 8am, and judges were briefed on their roles for the day by 9am!

DSC_1774The event began with a brief opening session, and then the competition was on for the students and their advisers that had worked so hard to prepare.

By noontime, the last of the ROVs had run it’s course, and the students, parents, and volunteers enjoyed some well deserved pizza for lunch while the judges tallied the scores to determine the winning teams for each event.

The overall winners for the High School and Middle School divisions will move on to compete in the International SeaPerch Challenge to be held June 1-3, 2018 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

 

NBC News 2 Charleston was there also, and this report aired on the evening news:

Results and a gallery of additional pictures from the event are below – Thanks to all the business partners, community volunteers, educators, and parents for supporting this sensational project-based learning opportunity, and congratulations to all the winning teams!

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High School Division Overall Winner: Charleston Charter Math & Science

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Middle School Division Overall Winner: Buist Academy

 

High School Competitive Events
Obstacle Course
1st. North Charleston HS
2nd. Charleston Charter Math & Science
3rd. North Charleston HS
Challenge Course
1st. Charleston Charter Math & Science
2nd. North Charleston Navy JROTC
3rd. Summerville Navy JROTC
Engineering Notebook
1st. Charleston Charter Math & Science
2nd. Charleston Charter Math & Science
3rd. North Charleston HS
Middle School Competitive Events
Obstacle Course
1st. Buist Academy
2nd. Laing MS
3rd. Laing MS
Challenge Course
1st. # 9 Laing MS
2nd. Buist Academy
3rd. (3-way tie) CE Williams, Buist Academy, Charleston Charter Math & Science
Engineering Notebook
1st. Buist Academy
2nd. Buist Academy
3rd. Laing MS
haeder city of chs job shadow feb 2018

West Ashley HS and Charleston Math & Science Students Visit City of Charleston Departments for Day of Job Shadowing

IMG_4741Students from West Ashley High School and Charleston Charter School for Math & Science had the opportunity to shadow various departments in the City of Charleston municipal team today.

The morning began in the historic Charleston City Hall’s Council Chambers. Surrounded by priceless paintings and other treasures, students got a personal welcome from Mayor John Tecklenburg. He explained the value of relationships and teamwork. He also shared the history of the location of City Hall, along with the court house, post office and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, make up the “Four Corners of Law“, a famous landmark in Charleston. IMG_4746

Then students were connected with representatives from their job shadowing host departments to begin a deep dive into various professions.

Host departments included:

  • Mayor Tecklenburg
  • Recreation
  • Municipal Court
  • Housing and Community Development
  • Traffic & Transportation
  • Geographic Information SystemsIMG_4789
  • Charleston Fire Department
  • Charleston Police Department
  • Charleston Fire Marshall
  • The Mayor’s Office for Children Youth & Families
    (Organizing dept for this annual job shadowing day)

After the students completed their visits to their host departments, everyone reconvened at the City of Charleston offices on the third floor at 75 Calhoun Street for a debriefing luncheon. Special thanks to Kickin’ Chicken for donating the box lunches for this event!

After the students shared stories about their job shadowing experiences, Jason Mitchell with the city’s Human Resources department addressed the students. He asked each student about their career aspirations, and provided excellent feedback and pointers tailored to their replies.

Mr. Mitchell encouraged the students to surround themselves with the type people they wanted to become, including their time online.

IMG_4777He also provided memorable quotes to add to their toolbox like, “there are riches in niches”, i.e. putting in the work to become a specialist in a specific niche profession is a path to long term success.IMG_4786

Special thanks to all the City of Charleston departments that invested theirtime in CCSD students today to make this work-based learning opportunity possible, especially the MOCYF team led by Mindy Sturm, Jason Mitchell from HR, and Mayor Tecklenburg.