CHM is proud to report on its continued participation in the Broadcom MASTERS Competition and partnership with the Society for Science & the Public (SSP). Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) is a program founded and produced by SSP that seeks to inspire young scientists, engineers, and innovators who will solve the grand challenges of the future. The 8th annual competition took place in Washington, DC, on October 19−23, and two of CHM’s fearless educators were there to take part.
CHM’s Kate McGregor, manager of family and community programs, and Stephanie Corrigan, manager of school and teacher programs, created and led two original challenges: a Raspberry Pi Challenge and a Logic Gates Challenge. Each challenge introduced concepts of computer science, hardware, and software and encouraged the 30 middle school finalists to collaborate, problem-solve, and think critically.
In our Raspberry Pi Challenge, led by McGregor, six teams of five students were challenged to design, code, and build a computer program to control the gyroscope (a feature of the SenseHat—a peripheral attachment to the Raspberry Pi) connected to a Raspberry Pi computer. The goal was to align the roll, pitch, and yaw (x, y and z axes) to fall within a designated range to trigger code that either a) displayed an image on the LED matrix when the goal was accomplished, or b) displayed the letter X when the axes were not within the desired range.
In our Logic Gates Challenge, led by Corrigan, small teams worked together to familiarize themselves with the rules of Boolean algebra, completing a mini challenge where they arranged logic statements and created truth tables for each of the three main Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT. Students then learned how those operators create logic gates that control electricity and form basic computer architecture. Each group completed a main challenge where they designed systems that use combinations of the three main gates (AND, OR, and NOT) to match other truth tables.
The 30 finalists were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers from a record 2,537 applicants. The finalists competed in a week-long series of hands-on challenges and were judged on projects that they presented at their state or regional science fair, their knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects, and their demonstration of 21st-century skills, including critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration. The finalists also met with government officials and showcased their projects for the public during a free event at the National Geographic Society on October 20.
Winners were named during an awards ceremony on October 23 at the Carnegie Institution for Science. CHM congratulates Georgia Hutchinson, 14, of Woodside, California, who won the coveted $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the top award in the Broadcom MASTERS. The top award winners also included: Jack Albright, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement, $20,000; Jacqueline Prawira, the Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation: $10,000; and John Madland, the Lemelson Award for Invention, $7,500. Our congratulations to all of the prize winners and finalists!