By Maison Piedford, SSC Atlantic Public Affairs
CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic was the site of a March 14, bi-county DimensionU competition which pitted more than 70 students from eight local middle schools against each other as they tested their math and science skills in online, multi-player educational video games.
The students took part in the competition under the watchful eyes of SSC Atlantic volunteers and mentors. Winners from each grade in the competition earned a "golden ticket" and will return April 19 to compete against Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy teams in the 2018 Department of Defense Math Games Virtual Tournament.
DimensionU, funded by the Office of Naval Research, is a math gaming tool that enhances students' skills in pre-algebra and algebra. The students engage in a series of first-person action adventure missions with three-dimensional graphics, sounds and animation similar to those in popular video games. Students can customize their avatars and can go online to play individually or in teams, with classmates or with other students around the world.
It was clear to anyone attending the event that the students were highly motivated and well-prepared to answer the math problems presented in the video game, usually within seconds. When asked what they had done to prepare for the event, Matthew and Demetrius, seventh graders from Dubose Middle, said they had been practicing with the program at school by playing against their classmates.
"It's good practice for me because I want to be an engineer," said Demetrius.
"If you have knowledge about engineering, math and science, no one can ever take that away from you," said Capt. Scott Heller, SSC Atlantic commanding officer, to the students before the competition. "You can protect yourself by learning, and people will always be willing to pay you for solving hard problems."
This is the sixth year SSC Atlantic has hosted the competition, held in the atrium of the command's main engineering center on Naval Weapons Station Joint Base Charleston. DimensionU is part of SSC Atlantic's educational outreach program aimed at developing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) talent in K-12 schools and at universities. SSC Atlantic deploys volunteers from its technical workforce to serve as role models, mentors, content experts, competition judges and in other roles that show students the value of a STEM career. Their mission is to inspire, develop and attract the STEM talent that is essential to deliver innovative solutions for the nations' and SSC Atlantic's current and future challenges.
SSC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR), cyber and information technology (IT) capabilities.