South Royalton School Wins Two First Prizes at UVM

Front Page / Dec. 10, 2009 3:35pm EST

South Royalton High School’s Physics II students won two first prize awards this past Saturday, Dec. 5 at the University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) Design Technology And Society Connection (TASC) competition.

SoRo won first place in both the “Profit Score” category sponsored by IEEE and the “Efficiency” category sponsored by General Dynamics. The awards yielded $1,000 for the SoRo science department.

Students participating in the design of this competition-winning machine were Alex Rogers, Robert Timian, Shanna Duffy, Alison Parr, Jan Cilley, Cole Rediker, and Margaux Lognoul.

SoRo Physics teacher Evan Ellerson explained that he helps guide students through the innovation process by encouraging continuous research and testing to make machine improvements. He also reminds them to consider evaluation goals when making decisions.

“This is very much about the students learning and doing it themselves,” Ellerson added, “and not about me doing it for them. I am very proud of their accomplishments.”

The WHAMM! machines were student-created for Wind Harvesting and Automated Apple Moving. The students worked as a team throughout the quarter to design and build a machine that harvests power from the wind (provided by a window fan) to move apples (plastic miniatures) from the “orchard” up a hill to the “farmer’s market.” The team’s score was a measure of profit—the dollar value of the apples brought to market in five minutes, minus the costs of materials and energy for WHAMM!

Teamwork was a critical factor in determining success for the 48 teams enrolled from 22 schools. The purpose of the competition is to give teams of high school students the challenge and satisfaction of designing, building, and testing a device to perform a specified task, which is sponsored by businesses in Vermont and surrounding states. In addition to the WHAAM! competition, there were also categories for teams to enter a kinetic wind sculpture or complete a PSA video.

Return to top