2 Wheatland Center School teams place in top 5 during the 2021 STEM Forward Middle School Contrapt Wisconsin Competition

/Submitted photo

From Wheatland Center School:

Two Wheatland Center School teams placed in the top 5 during the STEM Forward Middle School Contrapt Wisconsin Competition. They were awarded 2nd and 3rd place in the final judging last week. This year¶s task was to turn on a light in at least 8 steps. This project allows students to work on skills involving engineering, simple machines, trial and error, project planning, physics, teamwork, and creativity.

A contraption is a machine that accomplishes a simple task in a complicated, fun way by transferring energy from one object to another in a chain reaction. There were 34 teams representing 14 different schools that competed virtually by submitting a video presentation and a successful run of their machine to turn on the light. Students then joined live on Friday, May 7th via Zoom to meet with judges for questions and answers and to perform a live run to be scored for the competition. Judges were from different types of engineering backgrounds and also teachers from around Wisconsin. Mrs. Kandi Horton, Wheatland Teacher said, “I love this competition! Students have to really work on patience and perseverance because connecting the steps is pretty challenging especially since the goal is to complete the task without having to intervene. It requires students to problem-solve, learn to fail, and try new ways of thinking in order to be successful.”

Team Chill Pill, created an ’80s themed machine, using 14 steps to turn on their light. From a pac-man golf ball rolling down an inclined plane to a lightning strike wedge that releases the DeLorean from Back to the Future, this contraption won the team 2nd place overall in the competition. Team members were Abby daSilva and Caden Ludwig. “I really enjoyed building and designing our project. When I was in front of the judges I thought I was going to mess up, but I didn¶t.” Abby DaSilva was also proud of her work, “Past competitions, like Future City, helped me gain presentation skills, so this time I was more confident.”

Team Goofy Gumballs received 3rd place for their carnival themed contraption that used all 6 simple machines and 22 steps to turn on a light. Team members included Sofia Bronson, Zoey Ormonde, Safyire Guthrie, and Brianna Neubauer. Student Sofia Bronson felt it helped her for the future, “The best thing about Contrapt Wisconsin are the opportunities it presents, like furthering STEAM and engineering skills for a possible career.” Their machine consisted of a student designed and built ferris wheel, tubes and tunnels for a roller coaster and a mouse trap
to turn on the light! Zoey Ormonde reflected, “I thought being a part of a team was the greatest aspect of this project because hanging out with friends was fun and I learned how to build my teamwork skills.”

Team Goofy Gumballs: Top left to right – Zoey Ormonde and Sofia Bronson
Bottom left to right – Brianna Neubauer and Safyire Guthrie /Submitted photo
Team Chill Pill: Left to right – Abby daSilva and Caden Ludwig /Submitted photo

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