NORTH CANTON  The North Canton Middle School recently received the 2016-17 Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education and Student Research.

Middle School science teacher Taylor Sowers said the award comes in recognition of the student’s participation in the after-school STEM program that the middle school has been offering for a number of years. He said students attend the program October through March. The Governor’s Award is based on the results of STEM students submitting projects to the District 13 Science Fair held in the spring. 

"The students in the program research a problem and then they do further research to find solutions," said Sowers. "Students then use standard science or engineering based methods to determine the solutions and test them. Some of the students worked together as a group and some worked individually. While the after-school program is highly successful, the middle school also has a strong science and math program," he said.

One example Sowers detailed was how one group of students wondered if peppermint really did improve thinking. The group gave peppermint to test subjects including parents and other students. They used a control group where the members didn’t receive any peppermint and another group who did receive peppermint.

"Both groups received a pre- and post-test. The students found that the peppermint did impact student achievement. We also had a student design a "Lockerbot" that could help students open troublesome lockers. That project was engineering based," Sowers said.

The STEM groups also won other awards such as the Akron Section of the American Chemical Society for Best Chemistry Project and were BROADCOM Masters Nominee. Projects this year’s STEM members completed were:

- Does mint change the temperature in the mouth?  By Braden Moye, received an Academic Excellence

- Why do people lie? By Claire Beinke, received a Superior

- Cleared for Takeoff by Nathan Andrews, received a Superior

- Lockerbot by Samuel Meister, received a Superior and was a BROADCOM Masters Nominee

- Alarm clock for the hearing disabled by Mattie Midcap, Tyler Clay and Dylan Clay, Excellence

- Peppermint by Lauren Mueller, Piyali Saha, Yalnaz Siddiggi, Excellence

"The students are excited about the Governor’s Award and they are encouraged to find ways to improve for this year. The teachers are also excited to get this year’s program started and we look forward to continued success," Sowers said.

"It is our honor to recognize the school and teachers who have not only provided a strong STEM curriculum, but have also encouraged participation in many other activities to stimulate student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said Michael E. Woytek, CEO for The Ohio Academy of Science, in a news release.