WALLA WALLA, Washington
– The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Walla Walla District will sponsor engineering design competitions at Walla Walla High School, DeSales High School, College Place High School, Pioneer Middle School, Garrison Middle School, Rodgers Middle School, and Pendleton High School to celebrate National Engineers Week (EWeek) February 20-23.
The engineering design competitions are part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) conferences. This year, Corps engineers and support staff will serve as advisors, judges, and speakers at the STEM competitions.
“We're concerned that more of our youth aren't getting involved with STEM and this is a chance for us to work with them and show how much fun solving problems using STEM skills can be,” said Capt. Brent Vance, U.S. Army Corps, STEM coordinator says, “We really need to have enough people involved in these fields in the future, and EWeek is a good way for us to get out and interact with the next generation,” he added.
The Walla Walla District will help schools test paper towers that students will build using a variety of materials. Rules for the competition include constructing towers out of paper, tape, a 2’ x 2' piece of cardboard for the base and a loading arm. Each tower will be judged on its height, weight, loading capacity, and aesthetic innovation.
When asked about some of the challenges that students might encounter once they begin to build their towers, Capt. Vance said, “This is a challenging problem that the students have this year. The loading arm creates forces in the tower that need careful analysis to have a good build. The kids will have to really work as teams and think creatively on this.”
The competition and STEM Conferences encourage students to problem-solve, use ingenuity, be creative, and rely on each other as a team to build their towers objectively and conceptually.
“I’m anxious to see the students figure out how to support the load on their tower. I built a tower myself to see what it was like, and found that I was discovering, and learning along the way” said Vance. “As long as the students experiment, and work together, they’ll be heading in the right direction”
The design competitions will be held at: College Place High School on February 20, at 8 a.m., Rodgers Middle School February 20, at 9 a.m., Pioneer Middle School on February 21, at 1:30 p.m., Pendleton High School on February 21 at 10:45 am DeSales Catholic High School on February 22 at 8 a.m., and Walla Walla High School on February 23, at 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Corps of Engineers’ mission is dedicated to serving the Nation. EWeek is one of many opportunities that the Corps takes to give back to the community and its’ future. We respond to the President’s call to action for federal scientists and engineers to volunteer in local communities and think of creative ways to engage students in STEM subjects; maintaining America’s historical preeminence in the STEM fields is important to our future. For more information about National Engineers Week, go online to www.discovere.org. To learn more about the Corps of Engineers and its mission in the Walla Walla District, go to www.nww.usace.army.mil.