By: Valerie Preactor, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5 | February 10, 2023 read it >
Students from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical (MERVO) and Academy for College and Career Exploration (ACE) High Schools participated in a STEM lab provided by Learning Undefeated.
A group of 26 juniors collaborated to explore the nature of concussions and brain trauma sustained from sports like football and soccer. After conducting an experiment to see how the brain is affected by the force of impact from another object, they engineered different designs of protective football helmets.
This is a relevant topic as Super Bowl Sunday rolls around this weekend. This year the NFL saw more injuries than normal with two players sustaining traumatic injuries on national television. Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered two confirmed concussions in the span of 12 weeks.
Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field which required CPR to save his life. Both players have made full recoveries since, but the potential brain trauma they may have endured remains at the forefront of the NFL.
Building STEPS partners with 15 Baltimore City Schools to find high-achieving students to participate in programs throughout the year and educate them further on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics subjects.
Students that are a part of Building STEPS are often the first in their families to earn a college degree or high school diploma. Close to 80% of students involved in the program graduate from college.
Building STEPS teamed up with Learning Undefeated which supplied the Mobile Exploration Lab for the students. Their goal is to spark interest in STEM careers for low-income students from under-resourced communities. The experiential education that is provided encourages kids to dream big and helps build their future.
City College welcomed the The MXLab this week to be housed on their campus for the use and benefit of hundreds of students. The lab serves 10,000 Maryland high schoolers every year, reaching over a million students since 2003. The 1,000 square feet vehicle is equipped with six touchscreen televisions that enable state-of-the-art education.
Learning Undefeated Education Program Manager Kristin Diamantides said, “when you’re in science class, if you can have some way to tie it to the things that you see every day, it’s going to make understanding it a lot better.”
Asia Cole is a Program Associate for Outreach and is a Building STEPS alum herself, and hopes these students are learning that they don’t have to limit their career options to just doctor, teacher or lawyer. “There are so many other careers out there that they just don’t know about them…and this [materials engineering job] is attainable for me,” Cole said.
The students were engaged throughout their experimental lab, testing makeshift brain models inside a plastic container skull. Then dropping a weighted ball onto different types of padding and protection, evaluating the effect of the impact.
Academy for College and Career Exploration student Cameron Carter explained how this course was relatable since he had experienced a concussion through sports.
“Being able to learn and see what [having a concussion] is like, and see how it can affect your body and how it can be prevented, really helped me understand,” Carter said.
This is just one local organization that is helping to shape the future of Baltimore City and the surrounding communities. With Super Bowl LVII taking place over the weekend, this program seized the opportunity to connect students to a relevant media topic and help them learn.