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The Loudonville Public Library was selected as one of 20 organizations across the midwest to conduct an engineering design challenge this summer.
Riding on the groundswell of interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) interest fostered in the local schools, children's librarian Kristen Wilson applied for funding to host a challenge through the National Aeronautics Space Administration's (NASA) Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Loudonville was the only library among the 20 awardees selected.
Other winners included schools, colleges, neighborhood centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, STEM programs, a Girl Scout troop and experimental aircraft associations from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The local program will be offered to the first 40 fourth- through ninth-graders who apply. Applications are at the library. The program will gather every Thursday from June 1 through Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. for an hour-long session.
The way the program will work, Wilson, who completed two days of training for the presentations last week, explained, "is that using the engineering design process, students will develop and build a shoebox glider, and then improve it in terms of aircraft and wing materials, shapes, ands structure to produce the greatest glide slope -- that is, the ratio of the distance traveled to where it decreases in altitude -- possible.
"The process gives students a better understanding of the science behind aerodynamics, with participants exploring the aspects of flight through three lead-up investigations and then submit their final solution through a short video, which they will make, or with a capstone presentation document," Wilson continued.
"All of this opportunity will give participants exposure to educational content while working on real-world challenges in a collaborative, team-based environment," she added. "Students will apply lessons learned in problems faced by STEM professionals while gaining a deeper knowledge of how NASA is a part of their everyday lives."
In the program, $400 is being provided by NASA Glenn for materials. Students will participate in videoconferences where NASA engineers will critique projects, and they will make a video.
"Part of this rewarding experience will be participating in videoconferences and making the videos, in the process becoming familiar with the technology needed to do these things," Wilson said.
For more information, check with Wilson at the library or call at 419-994-5531.