High Schoolers Liven Up Campus Competing in Technology Events
Photos by Beth Hall
Students taking part in the first Razorback Technology Challenge watch as CO2-powered dragsters they designed before traveling to Fayetteville fly down a track in the Arkansas Union.
Students race dragsters, build towers, bridges for competition
About 300 Arkansas and Oklahoma junior high and high school students competed in several technology-based events at the University of Arkansas on Dec. 6, bringing newspaper photographers and television camera crews to the Fayetteville campus to record the activity.
Michael K. Daugherty, professor of technology education in the College of Education and Health Professions, plans to make the Razorback Technology Challenge an annual competition.
“The Razorback Technology Challenge was an effort to get young people excited about technology and engineering and open their eyes to exciting career opportunities in these fields,” Daugherty said.
The 2007 event is set for Dec. 5.
Marcus Hopkins, a student in the College of Engineering, uses a machine Daugherty invented in 1990 while he was a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University. The device was developed to “destructively test” bridges and towers built of balsa and basswood. The machine exerts hydraulic pressure on the structure until it fails, recording the maximum weight applied. Prior to the machine’s development, common methods of testing the engineering skills of students included adding sand to a bucket hanging from the bottom of the structure until it broke and then weighing the sand.
Students wait for their
towers to be tested.
The College of Education and Health Professions teamed with the College of Engineering and the Office of Admissions to host the events sanctioned by the Technology Student Association, a 150,000-member national organization based in Reston, Va., whose goal is to promote technological literacy and leadership.
Katy Huens, graduate student in the technology education program, and Hiedi Hoffman and Wade Cunningham, student ambassadors in the College of Education and Health Professions, assisted in the day’s preparation and judging with the assistance of nearly 30 student ambassadors and recruiters from the College of Engineering. Carol Gattis, director of recruitment, retention, honors and diversity, and Bryan Hill, associate director of recruitment, retention and minority affairs, coordinated the engineering college’s participation. Matt Hargis, associate director of recruitment in the Office of Admissions, coordinated a team of volunteers to manage scoring and event organization behind the scenes.
The students competed at the Union and in auditoriums in the Graduate Education Building and Bell Engineering Center. Campus would have been unusually quiet without the visitors as it was dead day, the day between the end of fall classes and the start of final exams.
Trophies were awarded to the first three places in each category and to the three schools that accumulated the most first, second and third place finishes throughout the event. Full results »
The students and their teachers posed for photos in front in the Union Mall area with the Razorbug, a Volkswagen Beetle modified to resemble an Arkansas Razorback, and went home with goody bags from the university.
Photos by Heidi Stambuck
Students received instructions and tickets to buy materials to participate in the problem-solving challenge called “marble mania.” The teams of students were required to design and build a device that would allow a marble to travel continuously. The team with the marble that moved for the greatest period of time in one direction won the competition. Students brainstormed numerous ways to use the plastic tubing, cardboard, paper pie plates, paper file folders, wooden dowels, springs, string and wire to design the marble-moving contraptions.