Middle schoolers to show off STEM skills

The 4th annual TECHFIT Showcase, featuring middle school students from five states, will be held at the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center (Co-Rec) on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, from 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Purdue University Co-Rec
Feature Gym
355 N. Martin Jischke Drive
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

The TECHFIT teams apply their skills in computing, technology, engineering and creativity to devise their own technology-supported fitness and exercise games. “The technical term for their inventions is ‘exergames,’” explained Alka Harriger, professor of computer and information technology.

Each team will have ten minutes to present their experiences and display an interactive animation of their exergame. They will have another ten minutes to demonstrate their game.

Of this year's nineteen teams, seven teams will be competing at the showcase. Six of them are from outside Indiana. The competing teams at this year's showcase are:

  • Winamac Middle School in Winamac, Indiana
  • Hayward Middle School in Springfield, Ohio
  • Faircrest Memorial Middle School in Canton, Ohio
  • J. O. Strong Middle School in Melvindale, Michigan
  • McMurray Middle School in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Freedom Middle School in Franklin, Tennessee
  • Charleston Charter Math and Science in Charleston, South Carolina

Representatives from two corporate tech partners will be part of TECHFIT’s judging panel at this year's event. Phoenix Contact is based in Middletown, Pennsylvania. The company donates the Nanoline microcontroller systems, including the controller, power supply and components that connect the system. Balluff, based in Florence, Kentucky, supplies a variety of electronic sensors, including photo optic and capacitive sensors. The companies provide TECHFIT with more than $50,000 worth of technology that is used to equip the toolkits provided to the nineteen school teams.

This past summer, 33 middle school teachers from 16 schools in seven states completed the TECHFIT professional development training in order to offer a TECHFIT after-school program or class at their school during the fall semester. Fourteen of these teams submitted videos of their progress that included an animation and demonstration of some part of their exergame innovation. An online video showcase was used to determine the people's choice winner from more than 6,400 votes cast. A panel of judges evaluated the video submissions to determine the teams that would be invited to compete in this year's showcase.

The first TECHFIT Showcase presentation will be at 10 a.m. The awards presentation will be at 3:15 p.m.

“TECHFIT” stands for “Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists.”

“The TECHFIT event is open to the public,” said Harriger. “Everyone is welcome to attend and cheer on these middle school innovators and encourage them to continue studying computing, technology and engineering.”

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