Country School Students Win National STEM Competition

Two teams of Country School 8th Grade students entered the national eCYBERMISSION STEM Contest 2021 this past March. Encouraging authentic and meaningful learning, eCYBERMISSION promotes self-discovery and enables all students to recognize the real-life applications of STEM. Teams of three or four students are instructed to ask questions, define problems, and construct explanations and/or design solutions based on identified problems in their community.

The Country School 8th Graders’ projects focused on the engineering and design process under the challenge category “Forces and Motion.” Since crafting units that cross disciplines is common practice at The Country School, Integrated Algebra and Geometry Teacher Louise Jackson and Science Teacher Meg Flynn knew they could accomplish their collective goal by using virtual learning tools and working in outdoor spaces. 
Cooper Burke of Madison, Katelin Hornyak of Killingworth, and Serena Shanbag of Guilford designed a water-flow sink timer to address CDC hand-washing guidelines while minimizing water waste. They noted, “In our community, a prominent issue is that many people, primarily children, have trouble with washing their hands for the right amount of time. Considering this, we decided to direct our focus to kids, specifically in schools although our design could also be used in homes. Leaving the sink on for too long wastes water, and washing hands for too short a time can spread germs including the coronavirus. Our design will help to solve these global problems.”
Teammates Nadia Goodman of Old Lyme, Alexander Podoltsev and Michaela Troy of Madison, and Joey Salafia of Killingworth designed and tested an inflatable bathing suit. They noted, “Due to the shortage of lifeguards, some families do not feel safe going to local beaches. We are trying to address the problem of the national shortage of lifeguards across coastal communities in Connecticut. We are worried about the safety of the local citizens.”
During the national virtual judging phase, both Country School teams earned high enough scores to receive state commendations. Their scores were based on the following criteria: Application of Scientific Inquiry Using Scientific Practices, Engineering Design Process, Benefit to the Community, and Team Collaboration. Team TCS Blue, the bathing suit engineers, earned first place in Connecticut with each team member receiving $1000 US Series EE Savings Bond. Team TCS Gold received an Honorable Mention and tied for 3rd place in Connecticut.
341 Opening Hill Road, Madison, CT 06443
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Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child.