CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Students from four Charleston County schools took over the College of Charleston's T.D. Arena early Tuesday in a showcase of technology and fitness.
The program, called TECHFIT, was founded by professors from the College of Charleston and Purdue, and aims to fight against adolescent obesity using STEM concepts such as science, technology, engineering and math.
"If you can give kids something where they can get excited about STEM subjects and fitness, and realize that they don't want to stop, then we have started them on the right path," said Purdue Professor Alka Harriger.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, more than one third of children were overweight or obese.
The showcase, which featured Haut Gap Middle School, Mt. Zion Elementary, Morningside Middle School and Charleston Development Academy, was the final act in a near 3-month long project.
Students demonstrated exercise games, all built from scratch, and included sensors, computer coding, animation, and wiring.
"We had to use nano-navigator," said 8th grade student Dakare Chatman, of Charleston Development Academy.
"Nano-navigator is where we learned coding. We learned how to connect the wires for our sensors."
In the summer, teachers from each school went through a six-day training program, sharing those skills with students in mid-September.
The first-year program is funded by a $1.2 million grant through the National Science Foundation.
"The level of the outcome has been beyond anyone's expectation," Harriger added.
Schools were each selected through an application process, and are not required to continue the program beyond the December showcase.
Erin Bianco, a 4th grade teacher at Mt. Zion Elementary, says she, and her students would like to see it continue.
"They loved everything about it."