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8/18/11 - CAVS hosts weekend 'Eggcellent' teacher workshop

A Mississippi State program training teachers to help students of all ages see the importance of seatbelt use includes a curriculum of applied mathematics, physics--and raw eggs.

Through its Mission Eggcellence program, the university's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems demonstrates how seatbelts protect passengers during automobile crashes.

Established in 2003 as an interdisciplinary center which comprises engineering, research, development and technology transfer, CAVS focuses on material science, manufacturing process modeling, computational mechanics, computational fluid dynamics, multi-scale modeling, and vehicular systems engineering, among other areas.

More than 850 students from kindergarten-high school in 35 school districts have participated in the center's outreach initiative developed by Paul and Rosemary Cuicchi.

"The best feedback about the program is when parents tell us their kids get in the car and buckle up," said Rosemary Cuicchi, the student outreach coordinator.

A Saturday [Aug. 20] workshop will train teachers of grades six-12 in car crash physics. After returning to their classrooms, the participants will lead students in using engineering skills to design bumpers and chassis.

Also, a Mission Eggcellence Challenge will involve student teams utilizing specific materials to build vehicles. The goal will be to protect uncooked eggs that serve as "passengers" of the models.

Funded by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the CAVS outreach program includes experiments and lessons related to vehicle crashes, which expose students to concepts of speed, velocity, acceleration, force, conservation of momentum, impulse, and mechanical energy.

Mark F. Horstemeyer, leader of computational solid mechanics research at CAVS, said the challenge also is designed to help students at the earliest grade levels think of engineering as a blend of creativity with science, mathematics and problem solving.

"This encourages them to see beyond what is immediately in front of them," Horstemeyer explained. "It exposes them to the design process."

Major leaders in the engineering field haven taken note of the challenge since its beginning in 2006.

The international Society of Automotive Engineers, also known as SAE, decided to incorporate the outreach initiative into the organization's "A World in Motion" program, allowing MSU's CAVS to share the program nationwide.

For more information, contact Rosemary Cuicchi at 662-325-8518 or rchicchi@cavs.msstate.edu.

ROBBIE S. WARD | University Relations

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