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Palacios High School POWER SET Travels to the Meadows Aquarena and Texas State University

March 2, 2014

    On Friday, February 21st, Palacios High School (PHS) POWER SET traveled to The Meadows Aquarena and Texas State University. At the Aquarena, the girls were given a general tour of the wetlands, aquarium, and a glass bottom boat tour of the spring. Along with seeing the history of the location and a few of the endangered species that reside in the spring (the Texas Blind Salamander being one of them), they were divided into groups and had to decide if the water in the spring was polluted or not based on the plant and animal life found in their sample. The overwhelming confirmed hypothesis was that the water was not polluted.

    Following the Aquarena, PHS POWER SET met with members of a new program at Texas State called SPARK. "The mission of the SPARK program is to inspire, support, and empower undergraduate women majoring in engineering, engineering technology, computer science, and mathematics at Texas State University. This unique program is funded by the National Science Foundation and is part of the College of Science and Engineering's goal to increase the number of women graduating with degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and entering professional STEM careers." After lunch and introductions, members of PS and SPARK were paired up and given the challenge of creating a bridge made from only popsicle sticks, tape, wood glue, straws, and cardstock. The goal was to use ingenuity and engineering to create a sturdy bridge. During the competition, groups were asked science and match trivia questions to earn points for their groups. After the competition, members of SPARK did demonstrations over the density of different materials, rotational energy, and kinetic energy. The bridges were then put through rigorous testing to determine their ability to hold weight (rocks and soda cans were used as the weight) and a winning group was determined. Their bridge was actually able to support the weight of one of the college students in the program! This was a valuable experience because it not only showed the power of science and engineering, but also that women are integral to these fields.

    On Saturday, February 22nd, PHS POWER SET traveled to Seguin and did a general tour of the Texas Lutheran campus. After an informational meeting about the school, the members were divided into 2 groups to take a walking tour. Many of our young ladies had not ever heard of TLU, or simply thought they could not attend a private school. The information that we were given greatly informed them about another possible place to take their academic talents.



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