QuantiTech TMAS Employees Supported Student Design Competition for Engineer’s Week

Part of QuantiTech’s TMAS team at Arnold Air Force Base (AEDC) recently helped share the value of engineering and STEM concepts with interested Tennessee high school students.  As part of the 2018 National Engineers Week, Dr. Rylan Cox, Paul Kelly, Stuart “Stu” Steen, and Jeremy Morris teamed up to coordinate and plan the Student Design Competition project held at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) Library. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, our volunteers incorporated a space theme for the Student Design Competition —“Terraforming Mars.” The competition asked students to create a “Mars Rover” and transport/deploy “explosives” onto polar ice sheet target. 

Participants were given two hours to build a Mars Rover out of materials provided (Photo by Laura Horton, UTSI)

Students from Grades 10-12 across local high schools participated in the competition. Each team was given two hours and a building kit containing plastic bags, paper clips, Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and other simple household items to build their rover. Once constructed, the students were asked to release their vehicles to travel down a ramp (simulating a hillside on Mars) and deliver a payload (nuclear bombs, or in this case, fishing bobbers) to a designated target. The teams were then scored on vehicle designs, proximity to target, and impact of the payload. Students devised clever solutions to the project, including using the project materials bag as a parachute to help slow the device down.  

 Throughout the competition, Dr. Cox, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Steen, and Mr. Morris shared their engineering expertise and discussed math and science concepts relating to the simulation. Students learned that their “deployed bombs” would release dust and ions into the Martian atmosphere and create a greenhouse effect — the result of which could make Mars a planet that supports human life.

Students deploying their Rovers down the Competition Ramp (Photo by Laura Horton, UTSI)

  In total, 24 teams of two participated in the event, and the three topscoring teams took home prizes. Natalie Todaro and Lila Saunders of Tullahoma High School took 1st place and the top prizeChanz Colbert and Garrett Jernigan (Huntland High School) came in 2nd, and Andrew Barrett and Luke Sweeny (Grundy County High School) were awarded 3rd place. Quite a few teachers were in attendance and expressed enthusiasm that their students chose to participate and gain experience in a science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) activity.  

 We are so proud of our QuantiTech employees who volunteered their time and energy to bring this fun and interactive event to local students for National Engineers Week!