By Maria Triana, Eighth grade
Last month a group of students from Sacred Heart Nativity Schools participated in their first-ever Tech Challenge sponsored by the Tech Museum. The challenge was to build a glider and it had to go over a 42-inch cardboard which looked like mountains. It had to go around the “storm cell,” which was a six-foot tall cylinder, and lastly it had to land on the launch pad on the end. There were ten members on the team from all three grades. The team included Neftali Rocha-Martin, Anne Sanchez (sixth), Pedro Santana, Andy Bonilla (sixth), Jimena Macias, Mariana Diaz Infante (seventh), Ruth Perez, Jesus Leon, Angel Martinez and Maria Triana (eighth).
The team decided to divide themselves into three groups so they could build three gliders. One group of sixth graders, another of two eighth-grade boys, and a group of two seventh-grade girls and two eighth-grade girls. We started working on the gliders in February and by March we had our first prototypes. We went to test trials to practice and to get some advice on our gliders. After the test trial, we decided as a team that we should improve our gliders, so we decided to rebuild them from scratch. Our prototypes were a bit too big and heavy, so we thought about using balsa would to lighten the design. We had a week to rebuild them and we stayed at school and gave up our other activities and dedicated our time to the important challenge. The competition was on that following Sunday and we were all ready. Our new designs worked better than the prototypes, it weighed less, and we had better results than before. Although we didn’t win, we learned a lot. We learned the importance of engineering, the importance of aeronautics, and most importantly we learned how to work as a team.