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GSMST, Grayson students participate in TEAMS contest

High school students from across Georgia will have an opportunity to participate in a unique learning experience when the University of Georgia hosts its second annual Junior Engineering Technical Society's TEAMS competition on Wednesday in the Driftmier Engineering Center. TEAMS is the acronym for Tests of Engineering, Aptitude, Mathematics and Science.

A total of 64 students from the following schools will compete at UGA: Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology; Grayson High School; Academy of Richmond County; Cross Creek High School; and Hephzibah High School.

The TEAMS competition brings math and science to life for students, fostering creativity, critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving, said John Mativo, an assistant professor in the College of Education's department of work force education, leadership and social foundations and a member of the UGA Faculty of Engineering.

Mativo will be working with both Chi Thai, an associate professor in the department of biological and agricultural engineering, and Nancy Vandergrift, program coordinator in the UGA office of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

The one-day competition will feature high school students participating in teams of four to eight members, using real-world applications of math and science to solve some of today's greatest engineering challenges.

The TEAMS 2010 theme is "Water, Water, Everywhere." There are two parts: a 90-minute, 80 multiple choice question session and a 90-minute, open-ended, four-question session.

"This theme is based on the fact that more than 900 million people in the world don't have access to clean water," Mativo said.

The competition benefits students by showing them why math and science matter in the real world. Its academic rigor challenges students with new academic topics and presents new ideas. In addition, participants get inside information about college scholarship and could win great prizes, Mativo said.

More than 14,000 students across the country participate annually in TEAMS competitions. Questions are aligned with national education standards. UGA is one of three sites hosting the competition in Georgia. Other sites are the Atlanta University Center and Savannah State University.

Northrop Grumman, a leading global security company providing aerospace and information systems worldwide, will sponsor the TEAMS competition at UGA.

Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post.