Each month, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School students are given the opportunity to compete in an after-school engineering challenge. The goal of the challenge, according to school officials, is to give students an opportunity to experience the work process of engineering a design challenge, and collaborate with one another to get the job done well, in a different competition than the yearly science fair.
The January challenge was to create noise-reducing headphones. Students were given 45 minutes to assemble their headphones. The devices, which had to stay in place without being held, were tested on a box that simulated a person’s head. An “ear” section, one on each side, contained a decibel meter to measure sound levels.
The decibel level of the Emergency Broadcast System tone was measured on both sides, first with the “ear” uncovered, and then with the student teams’ headphones on. The two measurements were added together to determine the total amount of noise reduction.
First place went to Thorpe Karabees, Andrew Ruimerman, and Willow Wunsch (36.4 decibel reduction); second place, Maddy Moore, Charlie Morano, and Ellie Reagan (33 decibel reduction); and third place, Galen Mayhew, Kevin Montambault, and Peter Ruimerman (16.2 decibel reduction).