By Ely Schosek
The Technology Department at Springville-Griffith Institute High School has flourished in the last few years while new equipment and creative students have continued to push the limits of the department.
Last week, a group of SGI students was given the opportunity to travel to Erie Community College South for a competition called Tech Wars. Every student in attendance participated in at least one event, most preparing for months ahead of time.
Students such as Josh Beres, Ethan Fisher, Daniel Gernatt and John Andreeff had been working on their mousetrap cars for a few months before the day of the competition. The process began with creating a design on the computer then cutting out the pieces using some of the more advanced machines in the department.
After creating a model, Josh and his partner realized that their design wasn’t going to work so they decided to start over. The new car utilized a pulley system which allowed them to go much farther.
Ethan said their preparations for the competition came down to making sure the car drove straight.
“I had to make small modifications to the car and test it to get the best results,” Daniel said.
Other students like Michael Spagnola and Sean Barry participated in the Vex robot competition. For most of the second half of the school year, they worked tirelessly with their partners to complete the best robot possible. Using a specific type of part, they built their robots.
Their goal was the score the most points possible. One of the various ways to score is hitting the flags so they were your team color, red or blue. Another is by having the cones on your color whether they are on the ground or on the poles. A third option is to have your bot on one of the three platforms.
Sean noted that their bot was made specifically to “flip the cones and put them on top of the poles.”
After much trial and error, they finally decided on the best design and plan for competition day. “Our bot performed exactly how we wanted it to, I’m proud of what we built,” Sean said. “The standings don’t show how well our bot actually did.”
Another event SGI students took part in was the Escape Room. The group included six high schoolers and two middle schoolers, the maximum number of members on the team. Aedan Smith, Henry Domst, Jared Hecht, Nathan Myers, Brett Russell and I were the high schoolers on the team.
“The escape room was not like a traditional one,” Aedan said. “Instead of searching the room for different clues to solve the various puzzles needed to escape, all the materials needed were already given or would be given once a certain step is achieved.”
The team placed first overall, which they attributed to their teamwork, communication skills and time management.
Looking back, members of the team thought the puzzles they were given were mostly based on their problem-solving abilities and not their knowledge of outside information.
Henry Domst submitted a design to the t-shirt competition which he won third place for.
Ben Sullivan and his partner competed in the RC King of the Hill event in which, “Two cars compete to get their team’s ping pong ball. They race to grab that and then they bring it to the top of the hill where they try to put the ball in a hole.”
They began with sketching out some design ideas and then the creation of a full car. The car was tested for design flaws and improvements were made.
Will Guilmain competed in the bridge building contest. He used ⅛-inch wood constructed in a triangular pattern. Once it was tested for design flaws, it was reinforced.
Will called the project “frustrating” because he had to build two bridges. “The first one failed after 20 pounds but it had to hold 100,” he noted. The second bridge did too leaving Will to make some major modifications in 8 days.
All of the students who attended the event thought it was a great experience for them. They were excited to see projects from students in other schools and hear some of their ideas
Many will be returning to the technology department next year and look forward to implementing what they learned in the future.