AAAS Science Project/Unisys prize encourages student-led scientific inquiry on flight to soar

One hundred years after the dreams and hard work of two brothers gave us the airplane's historic first flight, middle- and high-school students nationwide are dreaming up new projects that would make the Wright Brothers proud. With just a click of a computer mouse, the students will demonstrate what it means to fly-and show how their own imaginations have soared in the process, as part of a national science celebration.

Representing 10 cities and towns throughout the country, the students will team with local museums to compete for the $10,000 Unisys Prize for Online Science Education, which honors exemplary use of the Web as a tool for science investigation. The competition-celebrating "Taking Flight!"-is the culmination of a national educational program administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific organization, and publisher of the journal, Science.

The mission of the AAAS/Unisys science program is to raise public awareness for the need to bolster science education, and to heighten enthusiasm for science and technology learning for all students. The program is administered by AAAS in collaboration with The Franklin Institute Science Museum and Unisys Corporation, and in affiliation with the Science Learning Network.

Student learning statistics clearly point to the need for greater awareness of science education issues: In 1995, the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) showed that while U.S. fourth-graders scored above the international average in science and mathematics, eighth-grade students scored far below their international counterparts, and twelfth-grade students languished at the bottom of the chart. A follow-up study in 1999 revealed no improvement in the U.S. students' level of achievement from 1995 to 1999.

Working with local museums, each team of five or more students in grades 7-12 will unleash their imaginations as they pursue sci


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