Third Open Team Meeting

Our third meeting occurred on October 24th and was the last of our ‘open-invitation’ meetings and the last chance for interested students to see what our team is about before application deadline day.

We kicked off with another icebreaker as we had a handful of new faces since our initial meeting.  The game involved a giant neon pink ball of yarn (lovingly crafted by Alexa that day) and a big list of random questions.  The game went like this:  everyone present lined up in a big circle and the first person to start would throw the ball of yarn to anyone else in the circle.  The person who caught the ball (or, in a surprisingly large number of cases, pawed at the ball helplessly as it careened onto the floor) then had to answer one of the questions at random.  At the end of the game we had a few good laughs, a few interesting answers, and everyone got to learn a little more about one another – in some cases, probably a little more than we wanted.

“What three items would you take with you to a desert island?”
  Student 1: My clothes, my Xbox, and a big knife.
  Student 2: Gotta protect that Xbox.
Weaving our neon web
Weaving our neon web

Once everyone got untangled we moved onto the day’s engineering challenge: Popsicle Stick Catapults!  The students were provided supplies of 10 Popsicle sticks, 3′ of masking tape, a 6″x6″ square of cardboard, and a handful of rubber bands.  The challenge was to build a catapult that could launch ping pong balls into targets of varying difficulty and distance.  The teams had 30 minutes to brainstorm and build their first prototype before the first round of scoring, and they were allowed to make modifications as they saw fit between rounds.

Our playing field / Bart perfects his shooting stance
Our playing field / Bart perfects his shooting stance
Iterative design at its finest
Iterative design at its finest

The competition was fierce and we were happy to see some teams improve significantly in their 2nd and 3rd rounds due to some smart modifications.  In the end, there could only be one victor, and the winning team proved themselves a cut above by putting up consistently high scores for all three rounds.

Example of less-than-regulation modifications. " We can rebuild it . . . we have the technology."
Example of less-than-regulation modifications.
” We can rebuild it . . . we have the technology.”

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