Arlington, Va., August 6, 2012 —The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the United States Army have joined together to promote student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through a comprehensive education initiative. Announced today, NSTA will manage the U.S. Army’s eCYBERMISSION program, an online collaborative learning competition designed to inspire student interest in STEM by encouraging students in grades six through nine to develop solutions to real-world challenges in their local communities. NSTA will also join the consortium of the Youth Science Cooperative Outreach Agreement (YSCOA), under the lead of Virginia Tech.
“We need to cultivate and sustain interest in the STEM fields starting at an early age so that our students are better prepared for the technological and innovative knowledge-based economy of the 21 st century. eCYBERMISSION helps to do that,” said Dr. Gerry Wheeler, interim executive director, NSTA. “Through the competition, students are encouraged to be resourceful and to think critically while pursuing real solutions to real-world challenges. We are thrilled to be a partner in promoting high-quality learning opportunities and experiences that foster interest in innovation and build students’ knowledge in the STEM disciplines.”
“Our nation relies more and more on advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to solve real-world problems and ensure our national security, so the Army is investing today in the leaders of tomorrow,” said Mr. Dale Ormond, the director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM). “We encourage students to take an active role in their STEM education, and we hope they will continue to find that eCYBERMISSION is a fun and effective way to do that.”
“We are excited to have NSTA join as a partnering organization in the YSCOA,” said Donna Augustine, the director of YSCOA at Virginia Tech. “NSTA brings renowned expertise, significant experience, and an extensive network of STEM educators to their new role with eCYBERMISSION. We look forward to the further development and growing impact of eCYBERMISSION under NSTA’s lead as well as to the development of new synergies between eCYBERMISSION and the other Army Educational Outreach Programs.”
Through the program, teams of three to four students are asked to identify an issue in their community related to one of seven mission challenges, including:
- alternative sources of energy;
- the environment; food, health and fitness;
- force and motion;
- national security and safety;
- robotics; and
After selecting a mission challenge, teams—under the guidance of a team advisor—apply the scientific method/inquiry or engineering design process to propose a solution. Each team then submits a mission folder, the official write-up of their project, via the eCYBERMISSION website.
A panel of virtual judges evaluates and scores the mission folders on the basis of several criteria to identify state winning teams. The state winning teams then move on to the regional competition, where they compete with other teams in their grade across the region for an all-expenses paid trip to the National Judging and Educational Event, taking place June 2013. Teams have the opportunity to win state, regional and national awards and the students on the four national winning teams can receive up to $8,000 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity.
Registration for the 2012-2013 competition is now open. To participate, students must be U.S. citizens enrolled in sixth through ninth grade at any U.S.-based public, private or home school, or Department of Defense Education Activity or Department of State schools. Team advisors must be a teacher, coach, counselor or leader in a youth group organization and at least 21 years of age.
The eCYBERMISSION competition is part of the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP). The AEOP is comprised of Army-sponsored research, education competitions, internships and practical experiences designed to engage and guide students and teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
To learn more about the eCYBERMISSION program and to register, visit www.ecybermission.com or contact eCYBERMISSION Mission Control at 1-866-GO-CYBER (462-9237) or via email at email@example.com.
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA ’s current membership includes approximately 60,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
The YSCOA consortium was formed by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and includes Virginia Tech as the lead organization, the Academy of Applied Science, The George Washington University, the Technology Student Association, the University of New Hampshire and, new member, NSTA. AEOP is charged with addressing national needs for a STEM literate citizenry through a portfolio of educational opportunities which includes unique experiences, competitions, and high school internships that aim to spark an interest in STEM and encourage participants to pursue college and careers in STEM fields. The Army is committed to increasing the STEM talent pool in order to ensure our national security and global competitiveness. For more information on AEOP, visit www.usaeop.com.
RDECOM is the U.S. Army’s primary source of integrated research, development and engineering capabilities that empower, unburden and protect the American Soldier to enable the dominance of the U.S. Army. RDECOM provides the full spectrum of basic research, development, engineering and analysis of Soldier systems, from concept to capability. RDECOM is headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., with laboratories and research and development centers throughout the country and representatives throughout the world. For more information on RDECOM, visit www.army.mil/rdecom.
Kate Falk, NSTA
US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command
Youth Science Cooperative Outreach Agreement at Virginia Tech