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PSU hosts 2nd annual Great Gorilla Games

Hundreds of high school students from throughout the region will be at Pittsburg State next week for the second annual Great Gorilla Games.

Hundreds of high school students from throughout the region will be at Pittsburg State next week for the second annual Great Gorilla Games.

The day-long event begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 7, in the Weede Physical Education Building.

Aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, the Great Gorilla Games features a variety of contests, challenges and exhibits that present a “unique educational opportunity” for the students. The event is expected to be one of the largest technology-related competitions in PSU history.

“We’re expecting anywhere from 600 to 800 high school students to compete,” said Mike Neden, associate professor in the Department of Technology and Workforce Learning and key organizer of the Great Gorilla Games. “We like to think of it as the STEM Olympics. There are many different challenges that are focused around STEM concepts.”

Various formats for challenges are included in the Great Gorilla Games, such as individual, team-based, and group competitions and challenges, as well as static displays and exhibits. The advanced challenges feature specific elements that focus on the integration of STEM concepts in projects and activities that bring “meaning and relevance to STEM education.”

Challenges range from building rubber-band-powered dragsters and airplanes to designing and building an autonomous robot.

“This event is a lot of fun, but it’s also incredibly educational in terms of those STEM concepts that are so important to a student’s educational experience,” Neden said.

Technology Showcase sessions at the Kansas Technology Center will highlight PSU’s College of Technology and its programs. They will be available for students to visit when they’re not competing.

A full schedule and list of events are available at http://www.greatgorillagames.com. 

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