Another school year has come and gone – as has another RealWorld/InWorld (RWIW) Engineering Design Challenge, this year sponsored by the James Webb Space Telescope. I last wrote about this awesome student program in November – and since then we’ve had InWorld Q&A’s with James Webb Space Telescope project members, the presentation and evaluation of the six finalist teams’ projects – and had the winning team out to NASA Goddard to present their work and tour our facilities here.
The Six Finalists, Credit: NIA
RWIW is a terrific Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) project, developed by teacher Sharon Bowers, that allows teams of middle and high school students to solve engineering problems rooted in real life. The Real World portion of RWIW takes place in the classroom – and at the end of that unit, students can elect to move into a virtual world much like Second Life. The cool thing about the InWorld portion of this project, is that the student teams don’t have to be geographically located in the same place. In fact, when the winning team came out to Goddard to present their project, it was actually the first time they’d presented it while all being in the same room together! One of the other finalist teams had members spread out all over the US as well as a team member in Germany!
In this year’s RWIW engineering design challenge, teams chose between coming up with new mirror or a new sunshield design for the James Webb Space Telescope, as well as an associated spin-off technology. The winning team chose to develop a sunshield design, and their spinoff was a starshield.
Here are some screenshots of their presentation: