Newswise — Pittsburgh, PA (USA): The Materials Explorers™ STEM outreach program recently launched its newest classroom activities for high school students through the support of the Arconic Foundation.

Materials Explorers™ was initially developed and launched in 2018 by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society to grow an understanding of materials science & engineering (MSE) among high school students through popular culture references. The program’s newest collection, “The Materials That Move Us” explain materials science and engineering concepts through the framework of real-world applications such as aircraft, ships, and automobiles. Many of the real-world technologies referenced are application worked on at Arconic.

The Materials Explorers™ program is made up of two main components. The first is the volunteer aspect which brings TMS members into their local high schools to serve as real-life role models. Volunteers can help teachers explain complex Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) concepts by relating them to popular culture. They can also show students how materials science and engineering shapes the world around them by discussing the applications of their work.

The second component of Materials Explorers™ is the collection of downloadable class activities made available to teachers, parents, and students for free. The program launched with eight distinct popular culture topics ranging from smartphones to superheroes. The newest topic area to join the collection uses examples from the transportation industry to explain the following STEM concepts: Data Collection and Graphing; Measurement and Scale; Chemical and Physical Properties and States of Matter.

The update also includes the addition of a Capstone Project. The Materials Explorers™ program teaches students the scientific method and the importance of materials selection in designing a product. In the capstone project, students apply that knowledge to conceptualize and design their very own product.

“Programs such as Materials Explorers™ generate a real interest in STEM among young people,” notes Suzanne van de Raadt, vice president of Global Communications and Partnerships at Arconic Foundation. “Students can picture themselves as a scientist or engineer, and know that no career is barred to them. Arconic Foundation is happy to support a program that helps realize its mission of preparing tomorrow's workforce for successful, rewarding careers.”

James Robinson, executive director of TMS, adds that “Materials Explorers™ presents STEM role models to students, especially those in traditionally underrepresented groups, who may never have considered a career in STEM.  This not only helps secure the future of the broad MSE field but strengthens it by the inclusion of diverse perspectives and experiences.”

Teachers and parents interested in the program can download class activities and teacher guides for free at www.materials-explorers.org. Schools wishing to host a classroom visit may contact materials-explorers@tms.org to connect with a volunteer scientist or engineer in their area.

ABOUT TMS

TMS is a non-profit, international professional society with a mission to promote the global science and engineering professions concerned with minerals, metals, and materials. For more information, visit www.tms.org

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