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Boeing to Provide $1.5M for STEM Programs

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The Boeing Co. says it will give $1.5 million to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Among other things, the money will expand the museum’s annual robotics challenge from a one-state event to a regional tournament, so students from Mississippi, Alabama and Texas can also compete, the museum said in a news release last week. Finals will be at the museum. The first four competitions were all at the museum. Teams from Mississippi and Alabama occasionally competed, but nearly all were from Louisiana, museum spokesman Keith Darcey said.

The competition for students in grades three through eight uses themes from World War II – often tying in with an exhibit – to set up tasks in which teams can compete. For instance, this year’s theme was “The Pelican State Goes to War.” The 37 teams that competed on May 12 could choose from among 14 tasks symbolizing such things as oil production, the Louisiana Maneuvers war games, and prisoners of war, generally by moving items from one spot to another. Each team had 3 minutes and 20 seconds to complete its chosen tasks.

The theme of next year’s contest will be “Arsenal of Democracy: The Home Front.”

The donation also will add three new interactive exhibits to the STEM Innovation Gallery, looking at technological breakthroughs during the war. They’ll be titled Gears and Generators, Internal Combustion and Turbochargers, and Exponential Growth of Bacteria, and will explain how innovations helped planes fly at lower altitudes and how controlling bacteria growth led to lower mortality rates.

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