CPEP (Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program) Day 2009 was held this past Saturday, May 9th, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT.
CPEP's mission is to help under-represented students explore, prepare for, and reach their full potential in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. CPEP is an after school activity that provides students with the opportunity to explore STEM careers and topics and apply STEM knowledge and skills to hands on projects. CPEP day is the culmination of their efforts where they compete against other schools in different events. CPEP is for Middle School and High School students and competitions are separated by category.
Some of the projects students work on are Roller Coasters, Battery Powered Boats, Maglev trains, Mousetrap Cars, Aerodynamics, Egg Drop, Bridges, and Solar Cars. The students learn about the science behind each topic and then design and build models for each topic. At CPEP day, the students compete to see whose project is the best. Points are awarded for many different aspects, including appearance, creativity, and function.
Central High School is in their first year of CPEP after a hiatus. We had 4 teams compete in two different projects and one team took 3rd place in the Battery Powered Boats competition. In this competition, students are given Styrofoam, a battery, a motor, and a propeller and must design and build a boat. Then, at CPEP day, they race them and the fastest boat wins. The team had some stability issues that were new that day, but they very quickly fixed them and did great.
All 4 teams did a great job, had fun, and learned a lot.
I recommend programs like this for every middle school and high school. We must emphasize STEM subjects and encourage our students. Programs like this make STEM subjects fun.