Materials Science Day - Language and Communication Systems
Twenty-one students from the Applied Engineering and Science Academy, part of Trenton High School, came to Princeton University on Friday, January 26, 2007 for PCCM’s Materials Science Day. This particular installment of the PCCM program featured Princeton University/ MIRTHE scientist Dan Wasserman and 5 grad students: Fatima Toor, Kale Franz, Anthony Hoffman, Scott Howard and Richard Cendejas. Dr. Wasserman created a game to teach the students about encryption, communication systems, research and running a tech company. The high school students were tasked with creating a business plan and an encoding language using LEDs to communicate secret messages. The students were divided into groups which represented five “companies” with limited resources. With these limited resources, they could purchase materials and fund research, as in the real world, to help their projects to see who could transmit the fastest and most accurately with least expenditure. The five “companies” included: Sabbatogé, Metal Chocolate, MECS, and ICC (names invented by the students themselves).
Trenton Central High School teachers David Cipolloni and Dennis Bird brought the students the Princeton University to enrich their science and engineering education. “I see the potential in the students for doing well. Let’s see what happens when we expose them to an opportunity such as this at Princeton University,” said Mr. Cipolloni of the students participating in the Materials Science Day program.
Dr. Wasserman and Daniel Steinberg, PhD, director of PCCM and MIRTHE Education Outreach, were stunned by the students’ performance. “They were much better than we had anticipated. We had to find ways of making the challenge harder so they wouldn’t finish early. These kids are smart,” said Dr. Wasserman, who teaches engineering to Princeton University undergraduates. Dr. Steinberg commented “All of the students were really engaged and they seemed to grasp the concept of encryption because they were figuring it out for themselves.”
See photos in the Web Gallery