After many months of hard work in designing, coding and constructing a technology based exergame, two Franklin Special School Districts schools have been invited to showcase their games at Purdue University in prestigious national competition called TECHFIT (Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists). Only seven invitations were issued and, based on a video submission and an on-site judges’ review, Poplar Grove Middle and Freedom Middle were selected to move on to the national competition, which will be held December 10 in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Competing teams will be presenting their TECHFIT experience and demonstrating their exergame innovation at the Purdue Recreational Sports Facility. Now in its fifth year, TECHFIT is funded by the National Science Foundation and seeks to spark interest in STEM, especially computational thinking, in middle school children by teaching them how these skills will help them innovate technology-based fitness games (exergames). This past summer, 50 teachers from 30 schools in nine states completed an intensive, professional development program that equipped them with knowledge, skills, and technology to design and implement exergames. This fall most of these schools along with a few schools from past years ran their own 3-4 month afterschool program or taught a class during school to teach their students these same skills and to engage them in the design, development, programming, implementation, assessment, and promotion of their own “exergame” inventions. Only seven schools made the cut!
In order to send all team members, the schools are reaching out the community for sponsorship with a December 8 deadline. To send both teams for the two-day experience, which includes once-in-a-lifetime experiences exploring the science classrooms and research labs at Purdue, as well as the competition, will cost approximately $10,000-12,000. Donations are very much appreciated and may be made by check to Franklin Special School District with TechFit in the Memo line and delivered to Franklin Special School District, Attention Chuck Arnold, 507 New Highway 96 West, Franklin, TN 37064.