The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) announced the kickoff of the 16th annual eCYBERMISSION program, a web-based competition designed to cultivate student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by encouraging students in grades six through nine to develop solutions to real-world challenges in their local communities. Students can win on a state, regional, and national level, with national winning teams receiving up to $9,000 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity. Registration is open until December 13, 2017 at www.ecybermission.com.
“The U.S. Army’s long history of promoting innovation and supporting student learning in science, technology, engineering, and math comes from our belief that STEM literacy is essential for all students and is the key to tomorrow’s skilled workforce, strong economy, national security, and general well-being,” said Louie R. Lopez, AEOP Cooperative Agreement Manager. “Utilizing the Army’s unique resources — world-class scientists, engineers, and research facilities — AEOP programs, such as eCYBERMISSION, offer students exciting, one-of-a-kind experiences. Through the competition, students not only explore issues that affect their local communities, but are given a platform to create solutions to tackle these issues using STEM as the building blocks and foundation.”
“The key to fostering and sustaining the next generation’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math is to engage them in discovery and innovation,” said Dr. David Evans, National Science Teachers Association Executive Director. “ We believe the skills students learn and build while participating in this competition will ignite a real passion for STEM and hopefully propel them to pursue careers in the STEM fields.”
Through the program, which is administered by the National Science Teachers Association, teams of three to four students plus an adult team adviser 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 technology.
After selecting a mission challenge, teams apply the scientific practices or engineering design process to construct explanations or design solutions. 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 top three scoring state winners at each grade level in each region 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 2018.
Registration for the 2017-2018 competition will remain open through December 13, 2017. Final mission folder submissions are due February 28, 2018. To participate, students must be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, and must be officially enrolled in either sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth grade in a public, private or home school, or a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school abroad. Students registered by November 8, 2017 will receive a free STEM kit.
The response to eCYBERMISSION last year was unprecedented, with thousands of teams registered from all 50 U.S. states, territories, and DoDEA sites. The continued success of eCYBERMISSION and its registered students depends on dedicated volunteers to support the program. eCYBERMISSION is once again seeking dynamic individuals who can contribute his or her knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to the program. Volunteer roles include:
- Ambassadors serve as the face of eCYBERMISSION by promoting the competition and recruiting other volunteers in the community. Register here to be an ambassador.
- CyberGuides provide online assistance to eCYBERMISSION teams by answering questions and give guidance through the use of discussion forums, instant messaging, and live chat sessions. CyberGuides’ registration is open through February 28.
- Virtual Judges – Individuals with an interest or background in STEM or education who independently evaluate team mission folders online. Virtual judge registration is open through February 28.