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DonorsChoose appeal is answered

Campaign funds Pitsco racing system and other items for Mobile, AL, school

Published February 6, 2018
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“My students need a way to test the amazing dragsters they are building! My students need a Pitsco Impulse G3 Dragster Racing System.”

This was the beginning of the DonorsChoose description for Melissa Barnett’s dragster racing project in her engineering lab at the Denton Magnet School of Technology in Mobile, Alabama. The school is now in its second year.

The Impulse G3 Race System is a CO2 dragster racetrack from Pitsco Education with state-of-the-art electronics, durable construction, and Christmas tree lights to signal the launch. “This system will help our students see what they did correctly as well as what was done wrong and help them better achieve their goals every time they build,” the description explained.

Barnett’s sixth through eighth graders had previously designed and built dragsters as part of an engineering project, and now she was looking for a real-world application they could connect to their knowledge and hard work.

In just under four months, the project was completely funded, with a total of $1,674.76 raised for the Pitsco Impulse G3 Race System, a Hearlihy Collegiate Drawing Set, a Pitsco Wheel Deal, and a Miniature Ball-Point Hex Driver, and the items were on their way to Barnett and her students.

But before racing their dragsters, students researched the design process and the history of automobiles and figured out the impact their designs would have on the environment. “These projects help my students prepare for the jobs that fall under the STEM category for education and teach them the skills they will need to be successful in the professional world!” Barnett explained on DonorsChoose.

Before Christmas break, the school had an in-house dragster competition. “We raced our dragsters that were made by our older students,” said Barnett. “This got our sixth graders very excited about building dragsters for third quarter! Our goal for our in-house competitions is to raise awareness of the projects our students complete throughout the year in our classrooms. . . . We will have another towards the end of the year, with many more dragsters!”

Her thank-you message on the DonorsChoose page expressed her gratitude and alluded to the continued STEM learning the racetrack will bring, saying students “will be learning all kinds of skills” including technical writing and drawing as well as problem-solving. “We can’t wait to see what kind of dragsters we will have in the future years!” concluded Barnett.

Projects and competitions engage her students

Melissa Barnett enjoys helping her students learn and grow through various hands-on projects. “My favorite part of teaching is helping students accomplish things they could not do anywhere else,” she said. “I love giving them opportunities to help make themselves a better person.”

To do that, she turns to Pitsco dragsters, gliders, and structure- and bridge-building projects. “My participation in Technology Student Association when I taught at Bay Minette Middle School taught me about dragsters, bridges, and gliders. Pitsco has the best products for these projects for classroom and competition purposes.”

To find out more about Pitsco’s hands-on projects and activities, visit Pitsco.com.

“The level of individualized support you offer our teacher is amazing. It’s like having another instructional coach on our staff. Your relationship and ability to coach with empathy is appreciated. You took time to not only see a successful launch, but ongoing implementation; that level of capacity building is needed to sustain a successful program.”

– Sharrah Pharr, PhD, director of federal programs and grants, Hays CISD, Kyle, Texas

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