Blasting Off: The 3rd Annual STARward STEM Expo Launches Student Scientists into Space!

Cumberland County students vie for chance to send science experiments to International Space Station

The 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo was held on Tuesday at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Over 200 students representing teams from kindergarten through 12th grade attended the event, showcasing their science projects and competing for a chance to have their designs sent to the International Space Station as a “science payload.” Maura Richard, one of the participating teachers, expressed excitement about the opportunity to create her own designs and potentially see them sent into space.

Frank McKay, Cumberland County STEM Education Director, highlighted the importance of promoting education through events like the STEM Expo. He emphasized the need to address the needs of communities and the country by encouraging students to explore their interests and goals through experiments that range from simple to complex.

One of the teams participating in this year’s event is the Fly Guys, who are investigating whether plant seeds can grow in outer space using a mystic tube separated into three sections. Another team is exploring the effects of perchlorates, a chemical compound found in Martian soil, on aerospace aluminum alloy. In previous years, students have had their experiments sent to the ISS as part of a program that supports education and research in space exploration.

The winners of this year’s STEM Expo will be announced on Tuesday evening.

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