Osmon Best carefully looked at the eight steps to make a paper football.
After successfully crafting the football, the 12-year-old Thomas Johnson Middle School student stood it on a makeshift Washington Redskins table and plucked it to the other side. Touchdown!
Best and 39 other students from Thomas Johnson and Oxon Hill Middle School participated in various STEM projects Wednesday at the Howard B. Owens Science Center.
“I made a touchdown, but missed a field goal,” Osmon said while smiling at the engineering station.
The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade participants, decked out in blue “Pepco STEM All-Stars” T-shirts, were recognized for their academic achievements. The schools they attend are recognized as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) buildings.
The students from Thomas Johnson in Lanham would matriculate to DuVal High School, which has an aviation program. The Oxon Hill students would feed into Oxon Hill High School and can enroll in its science and technology program.
“This is intentional,” said Monica Goldson, interim CEO for the county schools system. “We hope at sometime during this three-year experience that something has grasped them to give them the courage they need to say, ‘I can do that, too.’”
During Wednesday’s event, students dispersed to four STEM stations, which all focused on a football concept.
At the mathematics station, Thuy Pham, 12, answered three questions based on a touchdown equaling seven points, a field goal equaling three points and a safety at two points.
One of the questions: If a quarterback completed 80 percent of the 35 passes he threw in the past three games, how many did he miss? The answer: seven.
“This was fun. I want to be a math teacher,” said Thuy, a seventh-grade student at Thomas Johnson. “My parents used to be math teachers, so it’s kind of a generational thing.”
The climax of the day came when students worked together on a few combination locks to open a black box.
Goldson led a countdown to open the boxes, which were filled with clues to let the students know they will attend Sunday’s Washington Redskins game at FedEx Field in Landover against the Carolina Panthers. She said tickets will also be provided for the student’s parents, courtesy of the Redskins and Pepco.
“Oh, yeah!” one student yelled from across the room.