“The only requirements are coming with an open mind ... ready to think and collaborate.”
With those words, students were invited to join the first STEM League Challenge on April 4.
Participants focused on concentration, team discussion and mapping out at the event, hosted by High Point and Wallkill Valley regional high schools.
It was organized by STEM staff members Brian Drelick and Mike Napovier and students.
STEM is an acronym coined in 2001 by the U.S. National Science Foundation. It stands for science, technology, engineering and math. STEM is an educational approach that focuses on hard science, improves critical thinking and develops problem-solving skills.
The challenge, sponsored by Newton-based Thorlabs, originally was planned for March 2020 but was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Students from more than a dozen area school districts used their problem-solving skills, technology and critical thinking to solve a Crash-Test Dummy problem.
Groups were given a model car and were required to devise protection for an egg, which would serve as a crash-test dummy. The car would be equipped with a CO tube, which would propel the car and its egg passenger into a cinder-block target.
Armed with straws, padding and other everyday items, the students toiled, practicing, testing and hoping that their research and finished product would protect the egg from devastation.
Participating were Franklin, Hamburg, Ogdensburg, Montague, Lafayette and Frankford elementary schools; Hardyston and Sussex-Wantage middle schools; Sussex Christian, Sussex Charter and Northwest Christian schools; as well as Wallkill Valley and High Point Regional.
Winners were Northwest Christian for best prototype, Sussex-Wantage for best design documentation and Hardyston for best presentation.
First place overall went to Northwest Christian, with each participant receiving a Bluetooth speaker and a $25 Amazon gift card.
Montague took second place and Hardyston was third. Participants from both received a Bluetooth speaker
Winning teams also received a plaque that will hang in their schools.