Here are a few news items of interest...
President Obama's National STEM Video Game Challenge Competition promotes a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. Stephen Shaefer from Rapid City and two of his fellow engineering students, Levi Miller and Alex Kampf, at Purdue University (with Stephen Zabrecky serving as their team mentor) won this year's National STEM Collegiate Competition, the PBS Kids Ready to Learn Prize ($10000 cash prize), with their `Speedy Math Train' app for the iPad. A video of their winning app may be found on YouTube or at the stemchallenge.org web site.Stephen Shaefer just completed his fourth consecutive semester on the Dean's List and Honor Roll in mechanical engineering at Purdue University. This summer Stephen has an internship at Caterpillar, Inc. in Lafayette Indiana researching the causes of anomalous combustion in large natural gas engines in an effort to improve engine efficiencies.2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge Collegiate CompetitionWinner of the PBS Kids Ready to Learn Prize ($10000 cash prize):`Speedy Math Train'by Levi Miller, Stephen Shaefer, and Alex Kampfwith Stephen Zabrecky (team mentor)from Purdue UniversitySTEM Challenge web site announcing the Winners:PBS Kids Stream 2012 National Video Game Challenge web site:`Speedy Math Train' web site:`Speedy Math Train' video on YouTube:Stephen Shaefer appears in the video at times: 16:45 and 20:52--22:23The following description is taken from the STEM Challenge web site:About the ChallengeIntroductionInspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.The 2012 ChallengeThe 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge is launched in partnership with Digital Promise, a new initiative created by the President and Congress, supported through the Department of Education. The initiative is designed to unlock the promise of breakthrough technologies to transform teaching and learning. The 2012 Challenge builds on the success of the first year by:Reuniting the original Challenge Sponsors (AMD Foundation, the Entertainment Software Association, and Xbox 360) and adding the CPB/PBS KIDS Ready To Learn initiative as a new Sponsor.Reuniting the original Implementing Partners, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media.Convening the original Founding Outreach Partners, (American Library Association, American Association of School Librarians, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the International Game Developers Association and BrainPOP) and adding the George Lucas Education Foundation, Girl Scouts of the USA and One Economy Corporation as new Outreach Partners. Together, these partners reach over 10 million children between the ages of 5-18, with reach into the nation’s most vulnerable communities, where advancing STEM skills is a key national priority.The Inaugural ChallengeThe Challenge was launched in September of 2010 at the White House by President Obama and the first year winners were announced by Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer for the United States at The Atlantic’s Technology in Education Forum in Washington, DC in March of 2011.The Inaugural Challenge featured three competition categories: a Middle School Prize, Collegiate Prize and Developer Prize and drew more than 600 entries from students, teachers, collegiate developers and professional digital game makers. Several of the games produced by applicants in the collegiate and developer categories were commercially published and the Challenge received strong media attention from major outlets such as CNN, Forbes, Education Week and Gamasutra as well as local and national press for the student winners. Over one third of the student winners came from Title I schools.The following description is taken from the PBS Kids Stream web site:About the PBS KIDS StreamPBS KIDS, in partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is participating in the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge, an annual competition to motivate interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning among America's youth by tapping into students' natural passion for playing and making video games. The contest is open to four different categories: Middle School students (5th grade – 8th grade), High School Students, College students and Teachers/Educators. Participants who wish to produce games as part of the PBS KIDS stream are encouraged to develop games for children ages 4-8 that focus on early math skills. This site is designed to provide information and resources to help guide game production. This project is part of the Ready To Learn Initiative, and funded by a grant from the U.S Department of Education.College Prizecan be a team up to 4; any platformPrize is: $10,000 cashFeatured on PBS KIDS Lab and PBS LearningMediaMath FrameworkThe Ready To Learn Math and Literacy Frameworks guide the development of all of our math and literacy content. The frameworks serve 3 purposes. First, they provide a detailed breakdown of math and literacy skills by age ranges for producers to work off of as they create their content. Second, the frameworks are a checks and balances system for PBS that helps us determine the skill gaps in our content. And lastly, the framework is the foundation for our multiplatform child progress tracking system. The frameworks were developed by PBS's curriculum advisor, as well as a team of early childhood math and literacy experts. This advisory team ranged from esteemed university professors to preschool and elementary school teachers, to professionals working specifically with low-income populations. The frameworks are aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Math and English Language Arts for K through 2nd grade and incorporate the most current math and literacy research for preschool-aged children. Download the Math Framework (PDF).
Sandra Shaefer wrote all of the MATLAB programs for solving this problem using the GE, II, and MC methods. Steve Shaefer answered Sandra's programming questions concerning MATLAB. Craig Shaefer wrote all of the Sage/iPython code for solving this problem using the GE, II, and MC methods. Gnuplot programs for plotting the results and fitting curves to the time complexity studies were written by Craig Shaefer and Sandra Shaefer. Sydney Shaefer is learning a little python and other object oriented programming languages, and provided an iMac computer for some of the time complexity studies.
(A wiki page covering this problem and its solutions and codings will be forthcoming when I have the time to write it.)