Young engineers score well at tourney

Neither water nor sand, boulder fields nor fallen buildings could stand in their way.

Local students performed well at the K’NEX STEM Design Challenge held Friday at Intermediate Unit 5 in Edinboro.

In Division I, the Learning Enrichment Center team of Wyatt Tucker, Megan McGuinness, Ellie Strausser, and Lyndsey Dippold took third place.

In Division II, LEC took third and fourth places with Lydia Giannini, Maxx Davis, Sam Holt, and Josh John bringing home third and Megan Wilson, Neil Rossman, and Eric Corse finishing fourth.

A total of 13 LEC teams, including from two to four students in grades four through eight, took part in the event. Grades four and five were in Division I, while students in grades 6, 7, and 8 entered Division II.

A total of 39 teams were entered in the competition.

Each team of students had to design and construct a people-moving vehicle out of a K’NEX building system kit. They had to explain how their vehicles were environmentally friendly, draw up schematics, and create obstacles.

At the competition, no two pieces of their vehicles could be pre-assembled. Students had to put every part together within the two-hour construction portion of the event.

The vehicles, powered by AA batteries no matter what their tri-fold boards said about environmentally friendly power sources, then had to move a total of four feet and cross an obstacle chosen and created by the team.

Students had to include information about their power source in their explanation of the vehicle and show where it would be located, but used a K’NEX motor at the competition.

The teams had to design, construct, and test their vehicles, create their tri-fold boards, and write a narrative about the vehicle during science class at LEC. According to John Fedak, LEC science teacher, students have been working on the projects since the beginning of February – a total of seven periods of less than an hour each.

He invited students to attend some or all of five non-school, voluntary work sessions, including a final run-through opportunity after school last Thursday.