I volunteer at a local middle school coaching a science olympiad team every year. It's a team competition with both written tests and build events. A lot of the kids I see are from broken homes and/or parents with no ability to help their children in math and science and in spite of the wonderful teachers at the school, there are way too few of them to go around. Volunteers like you make math and science real for these kids. We built mousetrap cars this year and one of the first things I had the kids do was measure the total energy in the "cocked" mousetrap to calculate the theoretical maximum speed of their vehicle then see how the mass of the car affected it, etc. We experimented with different gear ratios, wheel designs and traction materials and seeing them put theory and reality together is very rewarding.
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