Posts Tagged ‘competition’

SCW FIRST Robotics Team Competes at Regionals

November 14, 2013

On November 9, 2013, the FIRST Robotics team from St. Clare Walker Middle School attended the regional competition at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond. SCW Club members have been preparing for two months and developed an invention, prototype, and programmed a robot to perform specific tasks.

FIRST Robotics Club 2013- 1st Place Research Project

Standing from left to right – Jacob Winn, Jerry Lindsey, Chloe Hodges, Kenneth Beam, Tyler Radabaugh, Jack Graulich, Jack Ruark. Kneeling in front – Cole Ruark

This year, FIRST Robotics had a theme of “Nature’s Fury,” which includes all natural disasters. The team developed an invention that would help people prepare, survive, and recover from a hurricane. Students came up with the “Flash Wall,” a device that resembles a wall that pops up from the ground using hydraulics surrounding your home.  The Flash Wall should theoretically prevent water from reaching your home during flash floods resulting from hurricanes.

The SCW team researched damage to Middlesex County from Hurricane Isabel in 2003.  The students came up with an alternate resource to use to make the Flash Wall with cenocell, a material made from compressed coal ash.  Each year, 125 million pounds of waste can be recycled into cenocell.  This material is lighter, cheaper, stronger, and more environmentally friendly than concrete.  For additional guidance, the students interviewed Mark Nugent, Emergency Services Coordinator for Middlesex County, and he gave his opinion on different aspects of the Flash Wall prototype and presentation.

For the competition, students were required to build a LEGO Mindstorms robot that would perform tasks on an official FIRST Robotics mat.  The robot had to be programmed to complete tasks such as pushing a person from one place to another, pushing a lever that released an airplane, and capturing objects on the mat.  At the competition, the students were evaluated on the robot’s performance and robot design, the project solution, and a core values test.  FIRST Robotics insists each member much be respectful of each other and enjoy themselves at the competition.  The core values test graded each of the FIRST Robotics members on their teamwork and graciousness throughout the whole competition, as well as how they treated others.

The SCW team achieved highly in each category and received first place for their research project, which included scoring on the presentation to the judges.  Unfortunately, the SCW team did not qualify to advance to the state competition, but the students are very pleased with their win and learned a lot.  The students look forward to performing even better in all categories next year.

Students on the SCW FIRST Robotics team include  Kenneth Beam, Jack Graulich, Chloe Hodges, Jerry Lindsey, Tyler Radabaugh, Cole Ruark, Jack Ruark, and Jacob Winn.  Team member Brayden Miller was unable to attend.  The team was coached by Matthew Short, SCW Technology Teacher, and mentored by Kathy Ruark, technology coordinator for Middlesex County Public Schools.

Written by Jack Graulich and Tyler Radabaugh

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SCW TSA Finalists at National Competition

July 22, 2013

The St. Clare Walker Middle School Technology Student Association competed at the 2013 National TSA Conference in Orlando, Florida. More than 5,500 people attended the annual conference, held from June 28th to July 2nd at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. Middle and high school student members competed in more than 60 competitive events based on principles and concepts learned through projects during the school year in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. The conference celebrated the contributions of advancing technology in our society and TSA’s 35th anniversary with the theme “A Tradition of Excellence.”

Front row: Jack Ruark, Kenneth Beam, Jack Graulich   2nd row: Brooke Daniel, Tyler Radabaugh, Cole Radabaugh, Chloe Hodges   back row: Andrew Hudson, Jerry Lindsey, Advisor Mr. Matthew Short, Jeffery Jones, Kevin Horton

Row 1: Jack Ruark, Kenneth Beam, Jack Graulich
Row 2: Brooke Daniel, Tyler Radabaugh, Cole Radabaugh, Chloe Hodges
Row 3: Andrew Hudson, Jerry Lindsey, Advisor Mr. Matthew Short, Jeffery Jones, Kevin Horton

Students were also able to participate in leadership training sessions, career and education fairs, STEM educational products and services demonstrations, and a national service project for the American Cancer Society.

Participants from SCW TSA included: Kenneth Beam, Brooke Daniel, Jack Graulich, Chloe Hodges, Kevin Horton, Andrew Hudson, Jerry Lindsey, Jeffery Jones, Cole Radabaugh, Tyler Radabaugh, Jack Ruark, and SCW TSA Advisor, Matthew Short. The students competed in eighteen individual and team events, and exchanged ideas with fellow TSA students across 47 states and the countries of Germany and Turkey.

The following St. Clare Walker Middle School students ranked as Finalists (top ten placements) and were recognized and presented with 2013 National Finalist Pins at the awards ceremony: Brooke Daniel, Chloe Hodges, Cole Radabaugh, Tyler Radabaugh, and Jack Ruark received 4th place for the Nation in Website Design. Participants were required to design, build and launch a World Wide Web site that featured the team’s research about a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) related topic. Semifinalists participated in an on-site interview to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise gained during the development of the website. This year’s website theme was “Advancements in Law Enforcement.” The SCW TSA website entry can be viewed here.

Tyler Radabaugh received 5th place for the Nation in Transportation Systems. Participants worked individually to apply and document the engineering design process and mathematical principles and scientific concepts used in the research, design, construction, testing and evaluation of a rubber band-powered boat. Performance ratings of the boats were based on a combination of speed and payload capability measurements.

Jack Graulich received 9th place for the Nation in Communication Challenge. Participants designed and produced 1) a trifold brochure that promotes the chapter, 2) an effective sponsor support request on chapter letterhead, and 3) an 8 ½ x 11 inch glossy, two-sided postcard promoting TSA’s current national service project. Semifinalists were determined and were given the challenge at the competition to determine finalists. Semifinalists had to creatively design a solution to an on-site problem using their computers they brought.

Students will return to the community with experience competing against the best in the nation and having gained expertise and knowledge from peers from across the country. More information is available on the national TSA website.

The SCW TSA would like to sincerely thank the following individuals and businesses for financial contributions that helped get them to the National Conference event: Bob and Carolyn Boxley, C&F Bank, Dr. Ben Lennon, DDS, EVB Bank, Eric and Elizabeth Faudree, Thomas and Betty Lou Frazier, Gloucester Pharmacy, Bill McCarron, Middlesex Kiwanis Club, Kathy Osborne, Revere Gas, Rufus and Diane Ruark, Evan and Sandra Vanleeuwen, and Vernon and Bonnie Williams. Also, thank you to Cooks Corner Car Wash and Harrow’s Home Center for sponsoring the SCW TSA fundraiser and those who came out to support the event.

The SCW TSA would like to thank the following for assistance with specific student competitions: The Deltaville Maritime Museum Executive Board and Vice President, Bill Powell, and Park Director, Marvin Tiller, Student Resource Officer and Deputy Ben Langford, Dwayne Dunlevy of the Office of Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, Delegate Keith Hodges, Kelly Lowe of Lowe Tide, Kristee Norwood of Portraits by Kristee, Fred Hodges, and TSA Alumnus Stephen Blue.

The SCW TSA students are encouraged by all they have learned throughout the Regional, State, and National TSA Conferences and look forward to competing well in the 2013-2014 school year. SCW TSA Advisor, Matthew Short, is proud of the many accomplishments by the students and is excited for the future of the Middlesex TSA chapters. The 2014 National TSA Conference will take place in Washington, D.C. next summer.

Written by Lauren Radabaugh

View “Thank You” video.

SCW Hosts the 2013 TSA Tidewater Regional Fair

March 13, 2013

TSA Regional Fair 1

The Technology Student Association (TSA) gives student members opportunities for leadership and personal growth in all areas of technology, innovation, design, and engineering. 

Through TSA’s regional, state, and national competitions, members can challenge themselves in over 60 different middle and high school events. These competitions stress the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts, leadership, and presentation skills.

Virginia Regional fairs are hosted every spring by each of the six TSA regions in Virginia. On Saturday, March 02, 2013, TSA held its Tidewater Regional Fair competition at St. Clare Walker Middle School. Middle school and high school students from all over the region visited Middlesex for this well-attended event. Volunteers from near and far showed their support for these young leaders as judges, coordinators, and/or student supervisors.

TSA Regional Fair 2

TSA members assembled in the auditorium where regional TSA president, Brett Fochtmann of Middlesex High School, called the meeting to order.  Middlesex County superintendent Dr. Taylor welcomed guests to Middlesex County and congratulated the students for being a part of TSA.

Guest speaker Mr. James Wright, resident of Deltaville Va. and a graduate of Princeton University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, shared five points for students to keep in mind as they go through life. He was sure to advocate for the importance of technology in today’s society as well as the future. However, he cautioned students to understand that technology “has no emotion, and it can do a lot of good or a lot of harm. It is the people behind the technology who determine the intent of the constantly advancing technology.”

The competition began promptly after the general meeting. Students presented projects that they have been working on throughout the school year. Some of the most popular events were middle and high school Dragster Design, Essays on Technology, and Flight Endurance.

The competition concluded with the presentation of awards. The following St. Clare Walker Middle School students ranked in the top 10 and were recognized at the Tidewater Region awards ceremony:

SCW TSA

Chloe Hodges and Jeffrey Jones received 1st place, Kevin Horton and Andrew Hudson received 2nd place, and Brooke Daniel and Cole Radabaugh received 4th place in the Tidewater Region for Challenging Technology Issues.  Participants worked in teams of two individuals to prepare and deliver an extemporaneous, debate style presentation on a spontaneously assigned technological issue.

Kevin Horton received 3rd place in the Tidewater Region for Digital Photography.  Participants produced an album consisting of color or black and white digital photographs that represent or relate to a chosen theme.  The theme for 2013 was “TSA, Organized Chaos.”

Cole Radabaugh received 1st place, Jerry Lindsey received 2nd place, and Kenneth Beam received 6th place in the Tidewater Region for Dragster Design.  Participants designed and produced a fast CO2 powered dragster according to state specifications and used only certain materials.

Kevin Horton received 5th place in the Tidewater Region for Essays on Technology.  Participants conducted research in specified subtopics of a broader technological area and, using the knowledge and resources gained through that research, wrote a comprehensive essay in thirty minutes on the one subtopic that was designated on site.  The topic for 2013 was “The Positive and Negative Effects of Technology on Today’s Youth.”

Tyler Radabaugh received 1st place, Jack Ruark received 2nd place, Chloe Hodges received 7th place, Andrew Hudson received 8th place, and Cole Radabaugh received 10th place in the Tidewater Region for Flight.  Participants designed and built a glider that stayed in flight for the greatest elapsed time.  Students created a documentation notebook with all components, sketches of test gliders, and assembled glider to be tested at the competition.

Tyler Radabaugh received 2nd place and Jack Ruark received 6th place in the Tidewater Region for Promotional Design.  Participants created and produced a color pin design that would be appropriate for trading at the national TSA conference.

Tyler Radabaugh received 1st place, Jack Ruark received 3rd place, Jerry Lindsey received 5th place, and Jack Graulich received 6th place in the Tidewater Region for Transportation System.  Participants applied and documented the engineering design process, mathematical principals and scientific concepts used in the research, design, construction, testing and evaluation of a rubber band-powered boat.  Performance ratings of the boat were based on a combination of speed and payload capability measurements.

Students who placed in the top three at the regional fair will compete against other regional finalists from around the state in those events at the state level competition, Technosphere, held May 3- 5. TSA members will also get to compete in new events that are not available at the regional fair. If they place at Technosphere, they need to pack their bags because they’ll be traveling to Orlando Florida to compete at TSA National Conference.

Mr. Odom and Mr. Short, Middlesex HS and SCW TSA advisors, are very much appreciative of the many volunteers and judges that supported the event.

Article written by Matt Short


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