This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes to research and develop the Green Engineering Magnet (GEM) Project in response to a national need to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) studies at the middle and elementary school levels. The GEM Project answers the question: ?How can one actively moti-vate today?s young scholars to pursue STEM studies in a meaningful and sustained manner?? The GEM Project uses the natural youthful attraction of green studies as a magnet to draw students into meaningful and relevant STEM studies. The Phase II GEM Project will frame an expanded list of Phase I STEM core topics and studies in the context of green engineering activities, providing students with authentic experiences that support the learning of STEM concepts presented in class. To achieve this goal, Athena will fuse together three powerful learning technologies beginning with immersive, high-value 3-D STEM simulators. Next, requisite data collection, display, and analysis activities will be channeled through virtual instrument portals that mirror real-world data collection activities. Lastly, software-enabled scenario-based learning motifs will be used to integrate, deliver, assess, and remediate content as authentic STEM activities. As a result, GEM students will engage in green engineering challenges by making observations, measurements, calculations, and choices based on sound science and economic and environmental costs, just like a green engineer.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is its support for middle school general science, earth science, and similar curricular offerings. In addition, GEM products will support teachers with activities having a green engineering emphasis. GEM Project users will benefit by becoming more capable and motivated in their in-class STEM academic studies, as well as being better prepared and interested in pursuing STEM careers and becoming more STEM-literate citizens.