GODFREY – Twenty-nine teams from area high schools will face off later this month in a contest of ingenuity, design and working knowledge of physics during Lewis and Clark’s sixth annual Trebuchet contest.
The event will be held on March 22 at the George C. Terry River Bend Arena. Six area high schools will be represented this year – East Alton-Wood River High School, Alton High School, Southwestern High School, Highland High School, Jersey Community High School and Marquette Catholic High School, home of last year’s contest winners.
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Each team consists of four to five students, who have been working for months, using their knowledge in basic principles of physics to plan, build and test their own medieval military machines, and will use them to compete against one another in distance, accuracy and presentation of design.
Teams are judged on a report, which documents their efforts and results as well as the design and history of trebuchet, CAD drawings, and their performance in competition.
“The contest is a fun way for students to learn more about science and technology through exploration and teamwork,” said Kevin Bodden, coordinator of engineering science at L&C. “In addition, the event fosters the development of skills in measurement, report writing, critical thinking and time management – all vital for those pursuing careers in engineering and engineering technology.”
New this year, representatives from area colleges, including Lewis and Clark, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Southwestern Illinois College, St. Louis Community College and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, will host informational tables to showcase their programs in engineering, engineering technology and other related fields.
“We’re trying to make these students aware of college programs that fit their interests and skill sets as early as possible,” Bodden said.
The trebuchet contest strives to increase awareness of, and interest in, STEM fields among high school students in the St. Louis region. The contest was one of two programs at Lewis and Clark that was awarded a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation in 2012. The grant will help Lewis and Clark expand the program over the next several years with the cooperation of other college districts, including SWIC and St. Louis Community College.
The contest is a modern, nonviolent and educational application, with prizes awarded to top contestants. The contest begins at 9 a.m. Public spectators are welcome.
Learn more at www.lc.edu/trebuchet.
Photo cutline: Students from Marquette Catholic High School pose with their trophies after winning last year's competition. Photo by S. Paige Allen, Lewis and Clark Community College photographer.