Sharon Academy Wins Top Prize At UVM Engineering Competition

Front Page / Dec. 9, 2004 12:00am EST

Sharon Academy Wins Top Prize At UVM Engineering Competition

The Sharon Academy Team "Que?" covered itself with glory at the 14th annual UVM Design TASC (Technology And Science Connection) Competition held at UVM’s Patrick Gym Saturday, Dec. 4.

The TSA team won $1,750 in prizes in several prize categories, including the IBM Grand Prize of $1,000 and a laptop computer for the school; third place in the Pizzagalli Performance category, third place in the IDX Design Portfolio category, and first place in the Husky Green Award category.

The team members were sophomore James Howe, and freshmen Blaine Conner and Casper Anderegg. Advisors are Jim Wick, Dale Williams, Paul Johnson.

This year’s mission was to design, build, and operate a recycling system that could identify assorted materials: plastic (green and clear), cardboard, metal, and aluminum; and sort them using a 13.8 Volt DC, 10A power supply.

The participants faced a variety of obstacles faced by practicing engineers: how to identify and separate different materials, structural design integrity, how to minimize energy use, and how to minimize space used by the device. Scoring was based on the total number of containers successfully separated in the allotted time, as well as the accuracy of the separation, the amount of energy used, and speed,

"We built a large complex device about the size of a bathtub," Wick explained. "It had four main parts: an elevator, a conveyor belt, a metal detector, and a magnetic steel separator, as well as a number of electronic controls."

TSA team members worked on the project this fall during an elective class which met for a couple of hours twice a week. This is the sixth year that a team from TSA had competed at this event, and also the sixth year that Wick has been an advisor.

"We had a number of TSA students, parents, and faculty members travel up to watch the competition and cheer us on," Wick said. "It’s a fascinating event and a lot of fun to see what all the teams from different schools come up with."

"Participating in this event is a great learning experience for the kids," Wick continued. "It’s a chance to learn with their hands and their eyes. Over the years, I’ve really seen the kids mature intellectually as they’ve worked on this.

"We’ve had students who’ve gone on to major in engineering in college and it’s made a difference to them."

A total of 45 teams from 20 high schools participated in this event, which is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, IEEE, IBM, IDX, Husky, Pizzagalli, Ben & Jerry’s, BF Goodrich, Keybank, Eveready, TIAA-CREF, Walmart, OMYA, UVM, Kinkos, Edgeworks, and Reprographics of New England.

By Martha Slater

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