Annual STEM Engineering Showcase

Annual STEM Engineering Showcase

March 07, 2019

CMA (Tacoma)

Every year, as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility activities, CMA participates in Elk Plain School of Choice K8 Annual Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Showcase in Spanaway, Washington. This year, on March 7, 2019, GA employees talked about Toray’s history, some environmental issues facing our planet, and how Toray’s advanced materials can help with some of these environmental issues – specifically, water shortage and global warming.

Three GA members: Chinatsu Schenk, Michela Hammond, and Louise Dupuy engaged over a hundred attendees during the event. The team invited students and parents to participate in an experiment on how to use hollow fiber membranes to filter water from orange juice using a large syringe, while explaining how each of the little strings was like a tiny straw and a magnified cross section would reveal tiny holes inside. A filtration model and particles with varying dimensions were also used to demonstrate what everyday items can be filtered with different gap sizes.

Furthermore, the team discussed global warming and Toray’s advanced solutions which are carbon fiber and prepreg – a combination of carbon fiber and resin. Carbon fibers have several advantages in comparison to iron and steel such as stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance, and low thermal expansion. These properties have made carbon fiber and prepreg very popular in many cutting-edge applications including aerospace, industrial, transportation, and sporting goods.

STEM Night was not a traditional Science Fair. This was an Engineering Showcase. Elk Plain requires students in grades 4 – 6 to participate, and students in other grades may participate as well if they wish. The key concept of this event requires students to select a project and engage in the engineering process: Define, Develop, Test, and Optimize.

There were abundant project entries, and the gymnasium was packed with display boards, models, journals, and more! Some examples of engineering projects were popsicle-stick bridges to support heavy objects, catapults to fling objects long distances, water filtration systems, several paper airplanes to see which stays up longest, efficient solar ovens, and car models to travel as far as possible.

The STEM Engineering Showcase is a fun, informative event that provides an excellent opportunity for CMA employees to connect with the local community of learners, while working together to improve student achievement through science and technology. We plan to participate in this event again next year.