May 01--A group of students from Saint Andrew's Episcopal School were named winners last month in a Tech Museum-sponsored team design, science and engineering challenge for students in grades 5-12.
The team of six students, along with about 2,500 registered participants, took part April 12-13 in The Tech Museum of Innovation's Tech Challenge, an annual program that asks students to solve a real world problem through a hands-on project over the course of two days and after months of preparation.
This year's crop of kids were challenged to harness the power of wind to move water in three minutes or less to the people who need it most. To construct their devices, the students used all kinds of materials, including cardboard, water bottles, PVC pipe and wood.
The Saint Andrew's Team, which called itself "The Storm of Epicness" and included seventh-graders Antonio Caceres, Robert Chien, Matthew Cirimele, Mario Goranov, Jeffrey Zhang and Luke Pinkel, came in second place in the best device performance category. First place honors went to Sunnyvale'sPeterson Middle School.
According to Lisa Robinson, a spokeswoman for St. Andrew's, this is the third year that this team of boys has competed and each year they've received some award. The first year it was second in the Spirit category and last year they received second place overall in their division.
Once they built their devices, the students had to exhibit their inventions and present their journals, which documented their design and engineering process, to a panel of judges, which for the first time this year, included some Silicon Valley CEOs.
Museum president Tim Ritchie said he was stunned by the creativity at The Tech Challenge.
"Just when you think you've seen all the solutions to a problem, you're presented with another way to solve it," Ritchie said. "If our participants can take from this program an awareness that they have the power to solve problems and that there is always a better way, we have succeeded."
According to museum spokeswoman Michelle Tran, the contest provides months of team learning in science, technology, engineering and math, and reinforces 21st-century skills of creativity, problem solving, design, teamwork, leadership, presentation, risk-taking, perseverance and learning from failure.
Tran said the theme for next year's Tech Challenge is "Seismic Engineering in Action!" As part of that challenge, she said students will be asked to build a structure to withstand an earthquake.
Two other teams from St. Andrew's competed in the Tech Challenge: the "Super Awesome Scientists," which included Kriti Arunkundrum, Grazzia Bhatia, Grace Cirimele, Priyanka Joshi and Meilin Yen, and the "Wizards of Wind," including Aanvi Raghuvansi, Sophia Badame, Ila Mathur and Audrey Nowatzyk. Both are fifth-grade groups.
For more information about the Tech Challenge, visit: thetechchallenge.thetech.org.
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