Prime the Pipeline Project (P3): Putting Knowledge to Work

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A group of 60 10th grade students and 40 high school math and science teachers in Arizona, as members of scientific villages, explore integrated STEM and business-type problems with mentorship by university undergraduate students, university faculty, and scientists from business and industry.
Project Information
6 (2008/2009-2011/2012)
Principal Investigator: 
Carole Greenes
Co-Principal Investigator(s): 
Timothy Lindquist
Lakshmi Munukutla
Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz
Sethuraman Panchanathan
Arizona State University
Primary Focus: 
Computer Science – Gaming & Simulations
Organization Location City: 
Organization Location Region/State: 
Arizona (AZ)
Where project work happens: 
Arizona (AZ)
Other Area(s) of Focus: 
DNA analysis/sequencing
Computer Science - Programming and Other
computer hardware
general skills and mathematics
multimedia – audio, video and animation
Environmental Science
ecological research and analysis
Participant type: 
Black or African American
High School Teachers
Community College Faculty
Four-year College/Univ Faculty
High School Students
Free/reduced price lunch
Target Area: 
Award Number: 
Overview Section

Prime the Pipeline Project (P3): Putting Knowledge to Work is designed to engage high school students as active members of a scientific village comprised of students, math and science teachers, university faculty, undergraduate student mentors, industry professionals, and scientists. Participants include a cohort of up to 60 grade 10 high school students (class of 2011) and 40 high school teachers (half science and half math), from the Phoenix, Arizona east valley. Village members work collaboratively on problems that are of high interest, mirror the workplace, and have social significance with solutions that require the application of skills and concepts from STEM and workplace technologies while drawing upon a repertoire of problem solving heuristics. Students stay in the science village for 3 years beginning in grade 10 and participate in combined after school and campus-based academic-year programs and summer institutes. Math and science teachers participate as both learners and co-leaders. Teachers are engaged in professional development Connections Courses that focus on the key concepts and technologies needed to solve problems, strategies for assessing student understanding, and STEM career opportunities. Business and industry partners such as Intel and Microchip provide support by co-developing integrated projects, mentoring youth and teachers, and offering summer apprenticeships. The project website includes participant updates while encouraging communication and providing career advice. The P3 project's innovative design provides an opportunity to determine the effectiveness and transformative nature of a sustained 3-year scientific village approach as a means to increase STEM majors.

Activities Section

The Prime the Pipeline Project (P3): Putting Knowledge to Work offered four applied projects during the summer session: Wind Energy, 3-D Virtual Modeling for Emergency Services, Film and Media Post-Production, and Visual Programming and Gaming with Scratch.

Wind Energy
Students and teachers in Prime the Pipeline’s Wind Energy Village at ASU Polytechnic, led by veteran engineering faculty Dr. Mark Henderson and Dr. Brad Rogers, set out to determine if there is enough wind on the ASU Polytechnic campus to generate electricity. Participants constructed and erected two weather instrument towers with anemometers on campus to measure wind speed and they collected data during the project for scientific analysis.

Their findings? Not surprisingly, the Mesa campus doesn’t get enough windy days to warrant the expense of using wind turbines to generate electricity.

In addition to tracking wind speeds, the sixteen high school juniors and eight secondary math and science teachers from local schools explored how to harness wind energy as an environmentally friendly energy source using ASU’s state-of-the-art research labs.

Using a project-based format, Henderson and Rogers guided small groups of students and teachers as they designed, constructed and tested working wind turbine models. Participants also researched the most favorable locations worldwide for constructing a wind farm. They researched other renewable forms of energy such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat.

3-D Virtual Modeling for Emergency Services
Knowing the layout of a building in an emergency is helpful, but having a 3-D computer-generated model could mean the difference between life and death in a dangerous situation.

Students and teachers in Prime the Pipeline’s 3-D Virtual Modeling Village created computer-generated models of Arizona State University buildings for police and fire crews using software such as Google SketchUp and CAD.

Led by Dr. Robert Pahle, Assistant Professor of Research in ASU’s Decision Theatre, villagers learned first-hand how to take measurements of, design and create genuine 3-D renderings of various buildings on campus.

Working in small groups of four to five people, participants practiced their communication, collaboration and public speaking skills in creating their models and presenting their projects at the P3 Showcase.

Film and Media Post-Production
Students and teachers in the Prime the Pipeline Project (P3) learned the ins and outs of digital film editing from Emmy-award winning director and ASU faculty member Chris Lamont during the P3 Summer Institute at ASU Polytechnic campus in Mesa.

Dubbed “Filmzoo” by its 20 members, the Film and Media Post-Production Village, comprised of local high school juniors and secondary school teachers, spent two weeks learning how to edit raw film footage into a finished video complete with music, graphics and credits.

By the end of the session, each student and teacher had mastered the components of the production process and created their own unique movie. Several participants showed off their creations entitled “The Poker Game” and “Cleaned Out” for fellow P3 participants, their families and friends at the Showcase Open House on June 18.

Using Final Cut Express software, participants digitized film footage shot by students in the Film and Media Production Village during spring semester. Villagers also learned to manipulate pictures and sound with color correction and saturation techniques, and add background music, sound effects, graphics and credits to make a complete film.

Visual Programming and Gaming with Scratch
Programming your own video game takes more than a creative plot and entertaining graphics. It also involves a lot of mathematics, as 16 local high school students and seven secondary teachers discovered during Prime the Pipeline Summer Institute.

Participants in Visual Programming and Gaming with Scratch designed, created and tested their own video games, which they demonstrated at the P3 Showcase on June 18.

Projects ranged from children’s games to more sophisticated fare. Dr. Tim Lindquist, professor in the Polytechnic Department of Engineering, led the group as they learned to program in Scratch, a free software program that allows students to make their own animations.

Through the game development process, students gained a deeper understanding of mathematical principles of vector and coordinate geometry, logic, problem solving strategies, and linear algebra.