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Local students earn honors at Tech Challenge


Courtesy of Ann Hepenstal
Gardner Bullis School’s Tech Challenge Team “Fantastic V,” above, recently showed their project at the school’s STEM Expo. Teammates, from left, Brandon Son, Will Hooper, George Weale, Tripp Crissman and Nick Mumm pose with their creation, which won third place for Best Engineering Design Process.

Los Altos students competed in the Tech Challenge April 12 and 13, with several teams earning awards.

The annual engineering design challenge, a signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, invites students in grades 5-12 to compete in a team design exercise to solve a real-world problem. Although all teams tackle the same challenge, they compete in separate grade divisions: fifth and sixth grades, seventh and eighth or ninth through 12th.

This year’s problem, “Harnessing the Wind,” proposed using wind power to move water from where it is naturally to where people need it. The challenge: “Can you build a device that will transfer 1 liter of water from a reservoir into a receiving tank in less than three minutes?”

The Los Altos School District held an information session in the fall that spawned teams across the district, including groups from Oak Avenue, Blach Intermediate, Springer, Gardner Bullis, Egan Junior High, Almond and Bullis Charter schools.

During the event, the teams reviewed their designs with judges and competed against other teams from across Silicon Valley, Livermore, Monterey and beyond. Each team explained its design and engineering process in an interview, reviewed the design journal that documented their ideas and work and then demonstrated the device to determine whether it met the challenge.

The following Los Altos teams won prizes in the 2014 Tech Challenge.

• Gardner Bullis: “Wheel Deal,” Best Sportsmanship, Sydney Chase and Jack Galbraith; and “Fantastic V,” third place in Best Engineering Design Process, Tripp Crissman, Will Hooper, Nick Mumm, Brandon Son and George Weale.

• Springer: “Springer Breeze,” third place in Best Device, Trisha Gongalore, Julia Knopf and Natalie Young.

• Blach: “FABucchino,” third place in Best Engineering Design Process, Kai Yang, Varun Paranjpe and Amogh Rathnam.

• Egan: “Xtreme Creaters,” Judge’s Choice Award for having a checklist on their wrists, Kyle Marino, Amir Tadros and Tamur Asar.

• Bullis Charter: “Bring in the Wind,” Best Costume, Shahzayn Duraid and Talia Joffe; “#Selfie,” Judge’s Choice for Best Interview, Jackson Sutherland, Bryce Li, Hugo Biczek and Rishi Chandra.

For more information, visit thetechchallenge.thetech.org.

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