Pinewood Rises to The Tech Challenge

For the second year in a row, Pinewood has participated in The Tech Challenge, the signature program of The Tech Museum. This annual competition invites teams of students in grades 4-12 to use the engineering design process to solve a real-world problem. This year's challenge was to build a hovercraft that could navigate different terrains.

After a jam-packed weekend of fun and innovation, Pinewood's Technology Curriculum Coordinator, Jonathan Brusco, reports on Pinewood's stellar performance.

Our Pinewood Makers were a huge success at The Tech Challenge this year. Of the five teams that attended, four brought home awards, two of which being in the highest categories. 

In the 4th/5th-grade category (approximately 125 teams total)... 

Pinewood Cit-Kats - Won the Judge's Choice Award for Best Circuit Diagrams. This team of 4th graders (4 girls/1 boy) did an amazing job and worked incredibly well together. 

Pinewood Unicorns - Our all-girls 5th-grade team won the Best Overall Award (the absolute highest there is). They were amazing in all aspects of this competition, building six different prototypes, and meeting often outside of school. Their journal was a feat in itself, with 54 pages and a custom laser-cut cover. 

In the 6th grade category (approximately 80 teams total)... 

Pinewood iMagineers - Won the Judge's Choice Award for Best Power Delivery System. This team really pulled their efforts together in the last few weeks and came through with a solid device. 

Pinewood Hedgehogs - Won the Best Engineering and Design Process Award. This was also one of the top awards given. They performed flawlessly and showed tremendous teamwork throughout this process. 

Pinewood Tacos - Despite having an excellent performance, this team came home empty-handed. A bit of bad luck or perhaps something they missed. regardless, they are winners in my book and I told them so. 

I couldn't be more proud of all of our teams. They all performed amazingly well yesterday, demonstrating great teamwork, engineering skills, and strength of character. The effort that they put in over the past four months, collaborating as a group, designing prototype after prototype, and creating their detailed journals, showed a level of dedication that is rare in today's youth (dare I say even in those much older). They are all on their way to great success in school and in life.

Thank you all for your support of our STEM efforts at Pinewood. I'm continually thrilled to be part of the Pinewood community, working every day to build learning experiences like these for our students. 

– Jonathan Brusco, Technology Curriculum Coordinator

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