A few of Richmond County’s students have been working on special projects since September, and will finally reveal their designs Saturday at the Rockingham Dragway.
“While working on this project, we’ve been learning how science and technology are related to each other,” said Jaleel Patrick, Hamlet Middle School.
“Also we’ve learned how to create something as a team,” said Willie Bennett, Hamlet Middle School.
280 eighth graders from Richmond, Cabarrus and Rowan counties have been creating contraptions for the BioMoto STEM Challenge, a science, technology, engineering and math competition. Eight of the 32 competing teams are from Richmond County.
“The students have been working extremely hard to prepare for this event,” said Benny Leviner, adviser at Ellerbe Middle School. “I know they have learned a lot throughout the process, and they are excited and ready to compete.”
“It’s going to be so much fun to go to the drag strip and see how we do against the other schools,” said Chazz Murray, Ellerbe Middle. “It’s been great to go to so many different places like Kannapolis to learn more about racing, cars and how it all works. I’d say the hardest part has been definitely been designing our apparatus.
The kids were instructed to design and build an “apparatus” that includes:
• A separate device to lift the apparatus at least 12 inches
• At least two detachable mechanisms that allow the apparatus to roll
• A way to secure the rolling mechanisms
• A method to return the apparatus back to the original position
During the competition, students must:
• Use the separate device to lift the apparatus 12 inches
• Attach two rolling mechanisms
• Return to the apparatus to original resting position without touching it
• Roll the mechanism a minimum of three meters
Judges will place a five gallon water jug on the apparatus to “test its integrity.”
“I can’t wait to get out there and change those tires [during the pit crew challenge],” said Nicole Dee, eight grader at Rohanen Middle School. “That’s going to be a really cool experience, especially since there will so many other schools out there too.”
“It’s been interesting because we’ve learned how to work with tools and change tires,” said Ana Rivers, eighth grader at Hamlet Middle School. “That’s not anything I’ve ever used before.”
The Speedway will open at 8 a.m., and teams will begin their demonstrations at 10 a.m.
To create the devices, student teams had to stay within a $500 budget. The projects were created through a Golden Leaf Foundation grant by Marjorie Benbow, executive director of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Charlotte Office.
“BioMoto showcases two real economic drivers of the state: biotechnology and motorsports,” said Benbow. “The curriculum of the project not only pays homage to two vital N.C. industries, but gives students a chance to learn of their integration through hands-on learning and competition.”
This is the first year of the competition but, over the next three years, the BioMoto STEM Challenge will expand to include more than 1,500 students representing all N.C. school districts.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.