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Week of July 13th | Issue 13

Dear PREP Students,
This week, we are asking you to consider how you problem solve - and not just in your classroom setting. This is a skillset that will not only prepare you for future obstacles you may encounter, but also help you enhance current skills and learn new ones. Learn more about the art of problem solving from  Shreyans Jain in his TedEX talk and using the additional resources throughout this letter. 

Remember, you do not start anything at a mastery level; you first have to be a beginner. It is through trial and error that you learn what works and what doesn't.  You'll find this to be true for science, technology, mathematics, and there is even an entire engineering process designed around this idea. Using the resources provided this week, we invite you to seek further opportunities to try new things and learn from the ones that didn't go the way they were intended to. It's all part of the process!

                                       - The PREP Team
Virtual STEM Academy Updates
Ms. Conovan, our College & Career Awareness coordinator, will be teaching College & Career Awareness B. While you may already be familiar with the College & Career Awareness course from UT PREP, this module allows you to develop your resumé, college essays, and higher education plan in a small group setting. Interested? You can register on our website. 

Hello from Ms. Miller, PREP 1 Mentor Teacher! 

The Department of Neuroscience is hosting their second Virtual UT Brainstorms on July 23 at 7 p.m. via YouTube Live. You can join Dr. Leahy, Chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences, for COVID on the Brain: a Conversation About Viruses, Pandemics, and Vaccines.  

TI Codes from Texas Instruments are a great way for all of you PREP 1 & 2 grads to combine programming taught in Arduino with skills from your Problem Solving and Algebraic Structures courses. As a bonus, these coding activities will also help you master the calculator you will most likely use in many high school math, physics, and chemistry courses! Pro tip: If you breeze through these activities, try your hand at the "Beyond Basics" section.

Alchemie is an awesome site full of free, engaging chemistry learning resources, complete with an accompanying free app! Although interactive simulations aren't quite the same thing as being in a lab yourself, this site allows you to go at your own pace and truly deepen your knowledge of the chemistry concepts - down to every molecule! Perfect for PREP 3 grads dreaming about Research & Inquiry. 

In PREP 4, we use the Engineering Design Process to design, build, and program robotic arms. The Engineering Design Process is a set of steps engineers use to problem solve. Structural Focus is an architecture firm that uses a similar set of steps. Check out the problem solving process for restoring historical buildings as documented by the structural engineer lead on the team for a real-life example! 
As technology and science fields continue to advance, our need to problem solve and overcome novel challenges is bound to happen in any career field. The best way to prepare for this is to become comfortable with overcoming challenges. Taking advanced courses, completing group projects, building, creating, making, and designing are all ways you can practice this problem solving skill right now! Check out other ways you can practice problem solving from your home.

To learn more about careers that use group and individual problem solving skillsets, check out this resource. It includes information about careers as IT Programmers, Logistics Managers, and more! We encourage you to continue exploring how you can help shape the future. 
No matter how much you plan and prepare, you will run into obstacles. This is not a sign of failure, but an opportunity for growth. How you respond to these challenges is what allows you to learn from them. Earlier this summer we provided you some resources about Growth Mindset - which is an awesome way for you to become more comfortable during challenging situations. Maintaining your Growth Mindset will allow you to face any challenge you may come across and grow from it. For your journal prompt this week, we'd like you to reflect on your progress.

Journal Prompt: Tell us about a recent obstacle you've had to overcome. How were you able to overcome this? What is your biggest takeaway from this experience?
We hope you enjoyed last week's challenge! You can see solutions from multiple students on the "Parenthesizations" Math Challenge page

We've featured the introductory video for the thirteenth math challenge below.  After watching the video, you can read more about the challenge and how to complete it on the Collaborative Mathematics site. Remember to submit your solutions by emailing them to us with the subject line "Numerical Recycling" for a chance to be featured in next week's newsletter! 
Math Challenge #13: Numerical Recycling
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