(Kansas City, MO – Friday, April 19, 2013)
A sea of display boards and 250 local high school seniors flooded the Sprint Festival Plaza yesterday morning at Union Station for the Project Lead the Way High School Senior Showcase.
Unlike a typical science fair, many students presented not only research findings, but also innovative project prototypes and services, ranging from a blood pressure cell phone app to a concussion reducing football helmet.
“It gives you hope,” said KC STEM Alliance director Laura Loyacono. “These seniors are taking an elective that is voluntary research and their projects range from super practical projects like a dog-washing apparatus, to futuristic projects like the Sleep Pod, and then the highly personal projects like analyzing student reporting of sexual assault.”
These engineering and biomedical projects are the fruits of students’ participation in the KC STEM Alliance’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) coursework, which provides extracurricular, hands-on STEM education to 63 high schools in both Kansas and Missouri.
PLTW participants take a STEM course all four years of high school, and spend their senior year focusing on a capstone project.
This is the second year PLTW seniors have had a chance to showcase their work and practice pitching their ideas.
“A really critical component for STEM students is explaining their work,” Loyacono said. “It’s also an opportunity for businesses and colleges to get a sneak peek at the talent, ideas, and intellect that is coming their way.”