SBIR Phase I: Green Engineering Magnet (GEM) Project
National Science Foundation
Agency Tracking Number:
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Small Business Information
The Athena Group, Inc.
408 West University Avenue, Suite 306, GAINESVILLE, FL, 32601
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research project proposes to research and develop GEM (Green Engineering Magnet) in response to a national problem of recruiting young scholars to pursue STEM studies. The question therefore becomes: How does one actively motivate young scholars to pursue STEM studies in a meaningful and sustained manner? GEM uses the natural youthful attraction of green studies as a magnet to attract middle school students into meaningful and relevant STEM studies. The GEM Project frames core STEM topics and studies in the context of green engineering activities to provide students with authentic experiences that motivate the learning of STEM concepts presented in class. To achieve this goal, the project fuses together three powerful learning technologies beginning with its immersive high-value 3-D STEM simulators. Next, requisite data collection, display and analysis activities are channeled through professional virtual instrument (VI) portals. Lastly, software-enabled scenario-based learning motifs are used to integrate and deliver content as authentic STEM activities. As a result, students will enthusiastically pursue green challenges by making observations, measurements, calculations, and most importantly choices based on economic and environmental costs, just as required by real STEM practitioners. Lastly a DITA document framework will be developed to promote efficient authoring (multi-authoring) and content maintenance. GEM products will support middle school general science, earth science, and similar curricular offerings plus teachers with activities having a green emphasis. The GEM target market consists of middle school STEM programs residing in 14,300 districts with 1,525 administrative offices having annual expenditures exceeding $825 trillion dollars. The widespread impact of GEM is assured through the projected multi-tiered marketing strategy that begins with direct textbook and teacher support. The first anticipated product is linked to It's About Time (IAT) Project-Based Inquiry Science (PBIS)textbooks. Another tier will consist of other contracted textbook support products. By intentionally designing GEM content for re-use, other textbooks will be rapidly and affordably added to the list of supported STEM textbooks. The last tier focuses on green learning supplements sponsored by green stakeholders. Once developed, the 'must have' GEM technology can become a significant part of the nation's middle school STEM programs and be dominant in green engineering instances. GEM Project graduates are also anticipated to be better prepared and interested in pursuing STEM careers, in addition to becoming more STEM-literate citizens.
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