Archive for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Students will try to fly high in contest

October 9, 2007


Registration for the Kansas University School of Engineering's 2007 High School design contest ends a week from today.

Teams of three to four high school students are invited to design a dirigible that can be filled with helium and then flown to a specific location carrying a payload.

In this case, the payload is a small Jayhawk. The contest will be conducted Oct. 30 at KU.

Jill Hummels, a spokeswoman for the engineering school, said a number of schools have been in contact about this year's requirements and specifications for the project.

"(Our attendance) varies a lot between the years," she said. "In the past few years we've been growing dramatically. We've had 20 to 25 schools, with many schools bringing several teams."

Previous contests have included developing a field goal kicking machine.

Charlie Lauts, who teaches a college engineering prep class at Lawrence High School, plans to take about 16 students to the competition this year.

"The whole point of my engineering class is for problem solving," she said. "Obviously with being an engineer, you have to have failure before you find success."

Lauts said this competition usually piques students' interest because they think it will be fun. Eventually, as the competition date nears, students discover they must invest a lot more time in the project than they first anticipated, Lauts said.

"With a lot of these competitions they have at KU, the kids think they know the answers but they have to go back to the drawing board 17 times until they find something that works," Lauts said.

The competition will take place inside Eaton Hall, beginning at 9:30 a.m. next Tuesday.


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