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STEM Students and the Engineering Ritual of the Ring

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I recently hosted some 6th grade STEM students at our office. We ran through a series of challenges focused around problem solving and computational thinking. Normally these events have hosts giving away company swag but I wanted to do something different . Something that would not only be lasting and less wasteful but also more meaningful . Something whose value was not in its intrinsic cost, but entirely in what it represented. With the help of some coworkers, I’d fashioned a single hexagonal nut onto a ball chain. Incredibly inexpensive — to the point of being worthless. I kept the chains a glass bowl in the front of the room, and whenever the students asked about it, I smiled and told them I’d get to it later. Finally — after 2 hours of puzzles, exercises and challenges, I told them a story about myself. When I was in 8th grade I collected key chains. I had so many they barely fit in my pocket. One day I noticed my friend’s Microsoft key-chain and begged for him to trade. I’d give

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