Mathstronauts: Where STEM Comes to Life

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Mathstronauts is a registered non-profit organization that empowers and enriches youth (grades 6-8) through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Founded in 2012, Mathstronauts’ focus is to motivate and equip youths to think critically and problem solve within the STEM fields. 160 students located in the Hamilton-Halton region ranging from grades 6-8 took part in the experiential learning exercises provided by the Mathstronauts team. The EcoCAR3 team had the opportunity to showcase the team’s driving simulator at the event, and took part in mentoring and judging the student designs in both the science and engineering fields.

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The McMaster EcoCAR3 team is honored to have Richard Hamilton, the President and co-founder of Mathstronauts, as their EcoCAR ADAS team lead. Richard states that, “STEM is a duality of integration and application. Being able to build and apply theories through these four foundational subjects is vital to improving sustainability. In fostering young minds, we can build the learning blocks for global success.”  Investing in mentoring, in stepwise learning, and engaging in real-world problems and solutions are key components for success.

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As part of the Engineering challenge, students were paired with volunteer mentors with the goal to program an Arduino board to code actions pertaining to their interactive environments. Here, students learned the basis of coding while analyzing the differences between: embedded and multi-purpose computing, as well as discussing various inputs regarding hardware and software. A fundamental stage in the engineering competition challenged the students to debug code allowing them to critically analyze their programming skills.  Students have these opportunities to gain mastery through challenge for lasting learning.

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Students that were involved in the Science competition were asked to produce a wind turbine using original designs of a generator and turbine blades. The wind turbines were then attached to a volt meter to see which student design produced the most energy while maintaining optimal efficiency.

The goal of the Mathstronauts’ organization is to instill a desire in youth to problem solve, innovate, and drive create solutions to world issues through the STEM fields. With a strong sense of collaboration, students actively engaged in original design challenges. Strong support from volunteers, faculty, and their peers were displayed during the judging of the designs.

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By using state of the art technology and hands-on design modules, our students participating in these events have shown great excitement towards bettering the future through STEM related fields.

The McMaster EcoCAR3 team is proud to partner with Mathstronauts in educating the future STEM leaders.  We are looking forward to hosting the Mathstronauts at the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre located in Innovation Park. Here, we hope to continue to foster learning and allow the participants to think critically on how Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (ATVCs) are benefiting education through experiential learning.

Thank you to all our volunteers, sponsors, and supporters!

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