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UCSI Students Engineer A Lesson In Motion For Beacon Tree Elementary

Teens provide fun, hands-on activities that introduce science and technology to third grade students.

About 10 students from the Utica Center for Science and Industry (UCSI) visited Beacon Tree Elementary in Shelby Township Tuesday in an effort to introduce engineering, science, and technology to third graders. 

During their fourth visit to the Shelby Township school, UCSI students brought electric powered remote control cars - capable of reaching up to 35 mph - for the third graders to race around school grounds. While teens looked on, the young students delighted in controlling the high-powered RCs. 

In addition, UCSI students demoed a mini- and full-scale IVD (Innovative Vehicle Design), or custom-built go-carts. UCSI students converted the vehicles from gas into electric and modified the full-size version to fit an adult. The mini version of the electric RC goes up to 60 mph, while the larger car runs silent on electricity. 

UCSI students will enter the IVDs into various competitions and are required to share their projects to elementary age pupils in an effort to build interest in science and technology, said UCSI teacher Scott Spry.  Elementary students also had the opportunity to build about 90 small cars using Legos before racing them down a wooden ramp. 

“Science and math are basically the path for the future right now, so you’ve got to get the little kids interested in it so that they want to do it. I think it’s really cool. Most of them enjoy doing it and I enjoy it,” said UCSI student Adam Smith.

Beacon Tree teacher Rebecca Allen said the third graders learn plenty from playing the RCs and Legos. “They learned about jobs in the future, designing and building cars and (how) electric cars are safer for the environment,” Allen said. “They also learned about air resistant, forces, and so much more. It all fits into their STEM unit - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - and how we marry these areas of academic where they used to be separate. The kids can see how they all work together.” 

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