Local high school students get excited about STEM at Fort Meade Alliance’s Tech Mania

Students learned about artificial intelligence from Bridges Consulting while drones flew overhead.

More than 120 ninth grade students from the Fort Meade region participated in the Fort Meade Alliance’s Tech Mania on Nov. 2. The morning event, which took place on Arundel Community College’s Regional Higher Education Center in Hanover, gave students the opportunity to explore STEM-related activities from FMA members.

The students were from Arundel High School, Meade High School, North County High School in Anne Arundel County; Century High School in Carroll County and Howard County’s Marriotts Ridge High School.

“Tech Mania is an event that provides our high school students opportunities to see cutting edge technologies while meeting and talking with those who work in the industries where they are created,” said Maureen M. McMahon, Ph.D., Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Strategic Initiatives for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. “Students are always looking for relevance — Why do we need to learn this math or understand this concept? Questions like these are frequently heard by educators…But, on Tech Mania day, these types of questions are answered. Students can see, touch, and ask questions about how these amazing tech tools or software are developed and for what purpose. These days help students to identify careers for themselves; they help give their learning real purpose.”

Students dissected a heart in the Anne Arundel Community College classroom at Fall Tech Mania.

Students were presented with a variety of STEM topics and activities from Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), Bridges Consulting, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

Bridges Consulting taught the students about artificial intelligence (AI) and gave them the opportunity to fly drones and experience a head mounted display to see where the drone is going.

“What did you do on your Friday? I dissected a heart,” said one Meade High School student during AACC’s hands-on experience. Students learned about the different parts of the heart before being tasked with putting gloves on and dissecting one.

Cyber attacks were the topic in the Lockheed Martin classroom as students were split into two groups — one challenged with simulating the attacks and the other to defend themselves from the attacks.

Most of the students probably changed their passwords after Northrop Grumman’s hands-on wireless network security workshop, which demonstrated the need for strong passwords, patching systems and ensuring secure protocols are used.

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company showed students how they use computer modeling and technology to build the world around them. Students were also able to view construction projects using Samsung Gear VR Headsets.

Click here for photos from the event.

Tech Mania is held twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.