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Press Release

JASON Learning Partners with NCSU for Design and Pitch Challenges in STEM: Merging Entrepreneurship and Mathematics Learning

By August 9, 2021No Comments


This collaboration is a result of the NSF Grant, allowing for advancements in mathematics learning across the county

ASHBURN, VA – AUGUST 9, 2021 – Following the award of the National Science Foundation Grant, online STEM education platform, JASON Learning, has partnered with North Carolina State University to bring the Design and Pitch Challenges in STEM: Merging Entrepreneurship and Mathematics Learning competition to life. The three year project is slated to kick off in August 2021, with the first solutions open for beta testing in Spring 2022. 

The partnership will develop nine design challenges rooted in the high school mathematics curriculum that will encourage students to build, test, and refine prototype STEM products; design business plans to demonstrate product viability; and pitch their products to a panel of judges. The project will include 11 capstone events in low-income and ethnically and racially diverse school districts across the United States.

Dr. Eleanor Smalley, the President of JASON Learning said, “With JASON’s capability to reach even the most rural areas, we are going to have design competitions that can activate participation by a whole school, encouraging teamwork and applied learning. It’s incredible the solutions that students come up with when given the chance to solve problems on their own.”

The challenge will be mathematical in nature, but also teach about entrepreneurship, and involve high school students all over the country. In previous iterations of this challenge, JASON has worked with students in middle school. With this high school focus, JASON hopes to encourage entrepreneurship in STEM and Mathematics as students graduate and go to college or join the workforce.

Erin Krupa, assistant professor of STEM education at NCSU said, “Granted, things have not been as easy with Covid in the picture, but we know that to have a lasting impact, students want to determine a need in their community and address it. We have two communities that have taken on projects of renovating parks and trails, of great interest in WV and TX. This was important as more students spent more time outside during the crisis.”

There is a great deal of social good potential with this project, with opportunities to focus on the community in terms of reducing plastic use, food wastes, or designing medical packs for natural disasters. 

Smalley continued, “Not only are students learning the mathematical content, they are learning how to take the content, solve a problem, and create entrepreneurship out of it. They can make a design from the problem they’ve solved, scale it, and present it. This deepens knowledge and learning.”

The three year grant will officially launch in August, with JASON Learning and NCSU developing the challenges for students, who will eventually pitch their ideas to a panel. Following the first year of development, districts will be invited to pilot the program.  


About JASON Learning

JASON is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1989 by Dr. Robert D. Ballard. JASON provides curriculum and learning experiences in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for K-12 students, and high-quality professional development for teachers. JASON has been used successfully in a wide variety of formal and informal education environments.

About NCSU

North Carolina State University is a public land-grant research university in Raleigh, North Carolina. Founded in 1887 and part of the University of North Carolina system, it is the largest university in the Carolinas