EMC and Citizen Schools: Watch Futures Activate

This spring, Citizen Schools students from McKinley Institute of Technology and Campbell Middle School in California worked alongside EMC Citizen Teachers to prepare for The Tech Challenge, an annual team design challenge to introduce students to the science and engineering process with a hands-on project geared towards solving a real-world problem. Citizen Schools’ students in the “Shake, Rattle, and Rescue” apprenticeship learned how to design and engineer a rescue device for an earthquake survivor stranded on the Golden Gate Bridge. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) experts and EMC employees, Ronaldo Ama, Florian Waas, Ron Schaffer, and Keren Pavese coached students on the engineer design process and the student’s final designs incorporated everything from remote control cranes, magnets, and Frisbees!

On event day and the Challenge’s 25th anniversary, students from across the Bay Area converged at The Tech Museum in San Jose, CA to compete for the fastest rescue mission and to win a coveted award from The Tech. Citizen Schools was represented by six teams of 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students from Redwood City and Campbell, CA.  Some of the teams suffered setbacks, but all felt accomplished for trying their best and persevering through technical problems. In the end, one of our teams (The Unicorn Warriors) was awarded the prize of Most Spectacular Failure in the 7th/8th grade division, a highly coveted award which commends the value of learning from failure as experienced by many engineers in Silicon Valley and beyond. Thanks to the leadership of our EMC Citizen Teachers, our students handled the chaos on event day with maturity. Students also learned an important lesson from their Citizen Teachers: it is important to give 110% effort, no matter how difficult the challenge.

Citizen Schools is proud to partner with EMC, a company dedicated to impacting the next generation of STEM leaders. In California, the partnership has reached new heights with EMC’s sponsorship of the STEM WOW! taking place on Thursday, May 29th at The Tech Museum.  Students from the “Shake, Rattle, and Rescue” apprenticeship and from robotics apprenticeships from across the region will get the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of an audience of STEM professionals from Silicon Valley. Students will get one final chance to test their rescue device and we are confident they will experience a successful mission!