Middle School Science Classes take on the STEM ‘Straw Tower Challenge’


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Sixth graders from the Westerville City Schools Advanced Science classes took part in the annual Straw Tower Challenge, a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) initiative.  Teams of students were asked to design and build the tallest straw tower possible capable of supporting the weight of a tennis ball for up to one minute, spending no more than $10,000 in building materials (straws - $200 a piece/limit 50 and masking tape - $100 an inch/limit three feet).  The winning team was determined by the lowest total cost of their tower and the tallest tower built.

First place district winners were from Blendon Middle School.  Students Emily Bartholomew, Abby Gaylord, and Elizabeth Potterf built a tower for a cost of $408 per inch (Jeffrey Murdock, teacher).  Genoa came in at a close second.  Students Colin Bang, Austin Barnhart, Max Rojanasakdakul, and Nathan Seabury built a tower costing $426.67 per inch (Carla Gilbert, teacher).  Walnut Springs winners were Lilly Hammer, Zeien Chase, Ben Routman, Tyler Ottersbach, and  Elyse Drugan at a cost of $824.24 per inch (Brittany Green, teacher).  Heritage winners were Diana Alieh, Joella Shearer, Elle Rollyson, and Diana Humbert.  Cost based on height was $1666.67 per inch (Mary Milchen, teacher).

Thanks was expressed to building gifted facilitators Debbie Pellington (Heritage and Genoa), Robin Shrilla (Blendon and Walnut), the Gifted Education Department, and the Science Department for supporting this initiative.