Each month, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School students are given the opportunity to compete in an 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 to collaborate with one another to get the job done well — in a different competition from the yearly science fair. The students are issued a design challenge at the meet. Working in teams of two or three, they have 45 minutes to complete the task. Then the designs are evaluated to determine the meet winners.
The goal of the October Copy Center Cleanup Challenge was to build an electromagnet and use it to create a device that could pick up staples from the floor and deposit them into a cup.
Students were given 45 minutes to create their devices. They were provided bolts, wires, and batteries to create the electromagnet, and they were required to wire a switch into their system so that after picking up staples magnetically, the circuit could be broken and allow the staples to fall into a collection cup. They had to mount their system onto a meter stick, so that the staples could be picked up without bending over. They were required to collect and deposit 36 individual staples, and the group with the fastest time was declared the winner.
Natalie Munn is the leader of the engineering challenges series, with assistance provided by Elsbeth Todd (art/technology), Dana Munn (science), Michael Lavers (math), and Chris Connors (art/technology).
October Engineering Challenge Winners
First place, 18 seconds
Garrett Zeilinger, Jack Sierputoski, and Tau Rios-Dryfoos
Second place, 21 seconds
David Webster, James Kelliher, Brahmin Thurber-Carbone
Third place, 23 seconds
Evan Sauter, Ben Tillman, Curtis Fisher