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Cars challenge students

February 17, 2012

Wapakoneta Middle School students had a successful test run of their paper race car that was constructed from only index cards, straws and tape. The program for gifted students is a joint effort by Honda of America Manufacturing and the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.

Imagine being given the task of making an operational moving vehicle using only index cards, tape and straws.
Sound pretty simple? Wapakoneta Middle School students found it is not quite as easy as it may seem.
“It took a lot longer than what you would expect,” student Wesley Temple said of the experiment. “There is always something you have to change.”
Temple’s group of five students is one of eight groups comprised of approximately 35 students that are participating in an education effort to enrich local gifted students.
The Armstrong Air & Space Museum teamed up with Honda of America Manufacturing to assist the students in different engineering challenges. This month, the students tested their first project, making a moveable car out of the above listed equipment.
“We have eight groups that meet once a month and four groups alternate every two weeks,” said Mariah Vega of the Armstrong Museum. “We have had very positive feedback so far from the students and the teachers.”
The students must be creative, as they are given only the materials and no guidance to complete the task. The car also had to support an eraser as it made its trip down a ramp setup in the classroom.
“We are trying to grow engineers,” Vega said.
The program is aimed at getting students interested in science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Other projects to be completed include building hydraulic cranes, creating shuttle racers, and participating in an egg drop challenge.
“After this experiment, we will get together with the engineers from Honda and decide on the next project,” Vega said.
Vega said the meetings allow the students to work side-by-side with actual engineers and gives them hands-on experience in solving real world science and engineering problems.

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