STEM Coffeehouse!

BioNetwork’s Summer Cortinez spoke to several high school students from Franklin High School and Macon Early College about Bioengineering careers.  Students then participated in an activity where they looked at how scientists are using polymers to find solutions to hemophilia in humans.

On March 13th, Mr. Chris Hanners presented careers in engineering.  Mr. Hanners discussed class requirements and the pathway to a career in engineering.  Students had a great time trying to construct bridges out of index cards and straws that would hold the most load.

If you are a high school student in Macon County and are interested in participating in the STEM Coffeehouse, please go to the registration page on this website to register.  April 17th is our next coffeehouse and the topic is Black Holes!

Macon Early College Students Explore Space!

Macon Early College Students Explore Space!

On March 3-5, twenty students from Macon Early College (MEC) participated in a three day field trip to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  The focus of the trip was to learn more about the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

Students participated in lessons with Marshall Space Flight Center scientists and toured the museum and visitor center. Students engaged in a solar system scale activity that showed them why we have eclipses and why they don’t occur with every new moon (the moon travels in an elliptical orbit around the Earth).  Students also worked with a NASA solar scientist and used NASA Solar data to calculate solar flare height and velocity.  This information helps scientists predict how these solar events will affect electronics and communications on Earth and tells us more about our Sun.

The trip to Huntsville wasn’t all work and no play, however.  Students had fun riding the simulators, including the G-Force Accelerator where students experienced 3 g’s of acceleration.  Students also experienced the thrill of seeing an actual moon rock, as well as a real Saturn V rocket and Apollo 16 capsule.  Two MEC students from the trip plan to attend NASA SpaceCamp this summer after this experience.

This trip was sponsored by the Smoky Mountain STEM Collaborative grant through Southwestern Community College and the Macon County Academic Foundation.

STEM Logo Winner!

Congratulations to Raymond Simpson from Mrs. Gibbs homeroom at Mountain View Intermediate School!  Thank you to Gooder Graphix for creating these beautiful note cards and mugs!  Thank you to the NC Science Festival grant through Moorehead Planetarium to help produce these materials for our career fair presenters!

STEM Coffeehouse for High School Students

Macon County STEM Coffee House at The Rathskeller

Downtown Franklin

3:30 – 5:00pm

Bus #148 goes downtown from Franklin High School

Attention Macon County High School Students!

Join us for a fun afternoon of food, friends and

maybe discover your future career.

During each coffee house we will be joined by a different STEM professional.  They will give a short presentation about their job and then conduct an experiment or other hands-on project related to that profession.

Learn about the solar eclipse from an Astrophysicist or become a biopharmaceutical engineering team and perform tests for an experimental treatment for hemophilia with scientists from the Bionetwork.  Each month is a different topic and a different experiment.

February 6th – “The Royal Disease” with BioNetwork!  Whenever an individual suffers an injury, the body produces a fibrin polymer clot to stop the bleeding. Hemophilia, also known as “the Royal Disease,” is a genetic disorder characterized by the low production of blood clotting factors necessary for the formation of the fibrin clots. In this activity, student will explore X-linked recessive traits, learn about the process of scab formation, and become a biopharmaceutical engineering team performing testing on an experimental treatment.

March 13th – Engineering!  Learn about different careers in engineering and participate in a fun engineering challenge with engineer Christopher Hanners.  More details to come!

April 17th  – Black Holes with Dr. Enrique Gomez from WCU!  Learn about the physics of black holes and then learn how to identify the signal of ripples in space-time that indicate black holes merging together!  You will be participating in a real research project at the forefront of science! Bring your Ipad or laptop for this session.

Light snacks will be served and the cost is free (unless you want additional food or beverages served at the Rathskeller).

Space is limited to 30 participants so register early!

To register go to –

 April:  Black Holes with Enrique Gomez (laptop or ipad required with this program)

All participants MUST have a ride from the Rathskeller at 5:00.  This is a private event and the Rathskeller will be closing at 5:00 after the STEM Coffee House.

Macon Middle Science Fair Winners!

Congratulations to Macon Middle School students!

Mrs. Hornsby’s Experimental Design class from Macon Middle School competed at the regional science fair held at Western Carolina University. Three students won first place: Analee Webb, Olivia Pressley and Blaine Doolittle. Jasmine Cruz-Rios won 2nd place. These students will be advancing to the state Science Fair Competition in Raleigh.

3rd place was given to Muhammad Patel and Honorable mention went to Dillon Higdon.

Congratulations to all students who participated and good luck to those advancing. Four students will go on to compete and the State Science Fair in Raleigh next month.


Arctic STEM Challenge at Iotla Elementary

The Arctic STEM Challenge at Iotla Elementary School

Mrs. Clark’s Class at Iotla just completed a winter themed STEM challenge.  The whole unit is called The Arctic Stem Challenge…the premise is that they are an Arctic team of explores who get trapped by a storm and they must survive by making a blanket, shelter, snowball shooter to keep away polar bears, watch out tower and a parachute.

This was our newest challenge …. they were given a spoon, 2 rubber bands, craft stick, papertowel roll, and they had to create a “snowball shooter” to keep the polar bears away.  That was the only direction and it had to shoot over 5 feet.  I was impressed to say the least.  Some used the stick as a stabilizer – so amazed by the minds of these young people!

LEGO Math at MVI

LEGO Math in Mrs. Lipan’s class at MVI

Students in Mrs. Lipan’s class have been working on fractions over the past couple of weeks.  Each Lego brick was given a fraction value and a monetary value.  After constructing buildings with their various bricks, the students added and multiplied fractions to find the total value of the bricks they used but also counted how much it would cost to build based on the value given to each brick.  The students were so engaged in this lesson when I had the pleasure to visit their classroom!  If you want to know more about this lesson, Mrs. Lipan is always willing to share!

Engineering Musical Instruments at MVI

Engineering a Musical Instrument with Mr. McMahan’s class!

Students in Mr. McMahan’s 6th grade science class learned about the science of sound by inventing their own musical instrument.  These instruments are outstanding and have been on display in the media center for everyone to experience.  Students had to demonstrate their knowledge of amplitude (volume) and frequency (pitch) while playing their newly invented instrument.

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