News

Competitions motivate, inspire student learning and creativity

By Carletta
September 12th, 2013

Catalog helps educators connect to educational competitions

September 9, 2013 – A robot created by students for a 2013 SkillsUSA competition ends up being tested and used by a local emergency response team and featured by FEMA. Two students learned SolidWorks – professional engineering software – to create the finalist cars in TSA’s Middle School Dragster event in 2013. These are just a couple examples of what can happen when students dive into educational competitions.

Knowing the great potential of students’ creativity when combined with the proper motivation and tools, Pitsco Education has long been a part of competitive events such as TSA, FIRST®, and SkillsUSA. Those involved have seen the positive results of such events.

“Students put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that robot, so they take a lot of pride in it and have fun while learning,” said Tony Allen, Pitsco international business development manager, who has attended or facilitated robotics competitions through SkillsUSA, FIRST, and World Robot Olympiad. He adds that this type of learning enables the teacher to step away from lecturing and lets students propel their own learning. “By introducing a competition into the classroom, you’re using that natural desire for students to compete with their peers.”

Over the years, Pitsco has also highlighted tools and kits that help teachers and students achieve competitive success in its competition-focused catalog. The Competitions/Fall 2013/2014 catalog directs educators to helpful information and materials for 10 different competitions in the areas of robotics, structures, dragsters, sustainable energy, aerospace, and physical science.

And for those who want to test the waters, some competitions can develop locally. Steve Snider, Pitsco technical support, who has helped to facilitate dozens of CO2 dragster, bridge and tower building, and other competitions, points to the success seen in Duncan, Oklahoma. There, the Economic Development Foundation hosts a CO2 car engineering competition for area students in conjunction with its Job and Career Expo. In this way, local businesses learn of the skills that students are developing. Pitsco has helped run the car races for the event, launching as many as 400 cars in two hours.

“It has grown into a tremendous thing,” Snider said. “That whole community turns out for it. It’s almost as exciting as the national TSA.”

The catalog also includes new products for fall, such as the Magnetic Build Fixture, Materials Deflection Tester, Dual Lane Race Timer, Wheel Lathe, Eddy Current Propulsion System, SpaceShipOne Foamie Glider, Can Crusher, and numerous TETRIX® Building System parts. Also highlighted are Pitsco’s new 3-D printing packages, featuring modern skills that any student interested in engineering or manufacturing would do well to learn.

To learn more about the 10 competitions, check out Pitsco’s Clubs & Competitions page at http://www.pitsco.com/store/default.aspx?lp=21. To order a free copy of the Competitions/Fall 2013/2014 catalog or view a PDF of it, visit shop.pitsco.com and click Get a Catalog.

Note to media: Visit www.pitsco.com and http://www.pitsco.com/About/News.aspx or contact Communications Manager Tom Farmer at publicrelations@pitsco.com. High-resolution images for the catalog are available upon request.

Pitsco Education is the leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 STEM learning solutions. Our standards-based curriculum, products, equipment, and materials promote student success through positive and challenging learning experiences, and our hands-on solutions teach core concepts and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.

About the Author:

Carletta