2020 Cougar Class #3: Components of STEM

PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Introduction to Robotics

Date: 12/21/2020
Where: Virtual Meeting via Zoom

Number of Participants: 76

Impact on Team: After the more serious topic discussed last week, Team 1403 mentor Mike decided to give a lighthearted presentation on pizza. After giving brief insight into how pizza is made and the different varieties of it, he showed how even the production of pizza involves STEM. He started off by discussing how ingredients in the dough, such as flour, water, salt, and yeast each require components of STEM. He presented to us how the milling of flour, the treatment of water and transportation of water to a home, the conversion of brine to salt, and the production and use of yeast all require STEM knowledge and skills. He also showed how other components of the pizza involve STEM. Tomato sauce balances acidity, sweetness, and overall flavor, and the production of cheese uses fermentation, enzymes, and many scientific processes and technologies. Through his presentation, Mike shed light on many processes required behind the production of ingredients used in pizza, and the team was able to understand how many things that we often overlook involve STEM, and how STEM is all around us. During his presentation, Mike also provided tips on how to improve and make a good pizza. 

Challenge: The challenge for this Cougar Class was a challenge to attempt to list as many jobs involved in the production of pizza for each category of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Students were broken into 10 breakout rooms, and each group had roughly five or six students in it. Groups were encouraged to think out of the box, and come up with as many unique jobs as they could. Mentors periodically joined each of the breakout rooms to check in on each group, presented questions, and answered students’ questions while assisting and encouraging thought. Students were so engaged and absorbed in the challenge that groups were given extra time to finish.

Each group submitted a Google Form with their list of jobs with a brief explanation how each was related to the specific category of STEM and the job’s involvement in the production of pizza. After assessing each group’s answers, mentors determined a winning team with the most extensive list with acceptable jobs, which was announced at the following Cougar Class.