Sixth graders from advanced science classes in the Westerville City School District recently took part in the annual Straw Tower Design Challenge, a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) initiative. Teams of students were asked to work in small groups to build the tallest tower, supporting a tennis ball on top of the tower, for at least one minute, with the lowest cost per inch. Pupils were given a mock budget of $10,000 to purchase the straws and tape from their teacher.
First place winners with a tower 18.5 inches tall costing $340.54 per inch were Daniella Seum, Rosalie Heath, Taylor Himmelreich and Gwen Reed from Genoa Middle School (taught by Carla Gilbert). Second place went to Miles McGann, Nicholas Crone, Jared Corbett, and Ben Longwell from Heritage Middle School, who built a tower 18 inches tall and costing $416.67 per inch (taught by Mary Schade). Third place was earned by Adler Kaufman, Andon Arnold and Luke Grisenger from Walnut Springs Middle School (taught by Kim Neal) with a tower standing 21.26 inches tall costing $460.96 per square inch. Finally, fourth place, with a tower at 9.4 inches tall and costing $563.82 per inch went to Ajay Kumar and Aidan Updyke from Blendon Middle School (taught by Jeffery Murdock). The design challenge is supported by the Gifted Education and Science Departments.