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Florida Tech Jet Dragster the Focus of Free STEM Poster, Lesson Plan

MK-831-1015-STEM-Race-FINAL-JOSH

Nearly 14,000 Teachers Nationwide to Receive Info

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Take a drag racer and latch a fire-belching jet turbine to it. What do you get? A very, very fast car, and a powerful lesson in the STEM disciplines.

That lesson is highlighted in an eye-catching poster from Florida Institute of Technology that, along with a lesson plan, will be provided this year to over 13,700 teachers nationwide, including 4,500 in Florida.

This free initiative from Florida Tech, Florida’s STEM University™, is designed to spark the interest of high school students in the critical disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Asking the question, “What Were They Thinking?” the poster uses high-impact graphics and clearly presented, physics-based facts to illuminate the science behind Florida Tech’s jet dragster.

Mass flow rate, thrust, momentum and acceleration – all of those concepts and more are explained on the poster.

“The jet dragster provides students with a powerful manifestation of Newton’s laws of motion in action,” said Kastro Hamed, a professor and head of Florida Tech’s Department of Education and Interdisciplinary Studies who lead the initiative. “It helps in connecting science and engineering to a real machine in a truly interdisciplinary fashion that captures the imagination.”

Hamed, who has a doctorate in physics, worked with Dan Kirk, a professor and associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, and Ivan Farrell, a Master Teacher in the Department of Education and Interdisciplinary Studies who helped create the lesson plan.

That plan was developed in the 5E format, an approach featuring five stages of teaching and learning – engage, explore, explain, elaboration and evaluate – and tested in real classes. It introduces students to the use of interdisciplinary studies to observe and enact the concept of propulsion through hands-on activities, including making a balloon-powered dragster. It also will have students analyzing the forces acting on an object in motion both vertically and horizontally.

For more information on the program, visit www.fit.edu/stem-poster/.

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