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USC Viterbi STEM Spotlight Connects K-12 Students to Engineering

The USC Viterbi STEM Spotlight helps K-12 students & teachers connect core science to engineering's exciting breakthroughs on real-world issues.
By: Katie Mills
October 06, 2014 —

Did you build rockets or design miniature roller coasters when you were in middle or high school? While some teachers have always included projects in their classes, now all science teachers in Los Angeles’ middle and high schools have the responsibility of introducing engineering concepts and projects into their courses, thanks to the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Any shift in teaching standards can be challenging, plus engineering is a new field to many people. So USC Viterbi helps teachers and students connect with engineering through the new USC Viterbi STEM Spotlight series on the cutting-edge research conducted here.

Throughout October, the USC Viterbi STEM Spotlight on the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering will be linking Newton’s laws to race cars, chemistry to rocket explosions, math to flying micro-robots, and physics about shock waves to brain injuries suffered by football players. The STEM Spotlight Webpages offer a look inside six of the department’s labs, which some neighborhood students will also visit in person, plus links to fun activities (some created by USC Viterbi freshman engineering students) and teaching materials. The professors participating in the open house will also visit local schools to show how their research builds upon the same concepts students are learning now in their STEM courses.

The USC Viterbi STEM Spotlight helps students link science and math to engineering's exciting breakthroughs on real-world issues. Coming this spring, the STEM Spotlight will feature the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in February 2015, and the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering in March 2015. Additional departments will be featured in the future. This program comes from the USC Viterbi outreach program, VAST (Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher).

The USC Viterbi STEM Spotlight gives families, teachers and students a way to shed a light on the fascinating world of engineering. Make your STEM study brilliant!