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RCS seventh-graders design and race dragsters in hands-on STEM project

Two boys at the starting line holding their dragsters on the courseWith an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs in education, teachers like Jared Bevington, a seventh-grade technology teacher at RCS, challenges students to research, design, develop and test their ideas through hands-on projects.

For their most recent project, Bevington challenged students to create small dragster race cars that could travel 34 feet in less than two seconds.

“They started with a design brief, a detailed plan outlining what they had to design and any goals that needed to be met,” Bevington said.

The cars had to be made out of wood and had to be a certain size to be considered race-worthy. Knowing these parameters, each student designed and built a dragster.

“The project not only had students designing, sketching, 3D-modeling and woodworking, they were also recording data and problem solving if their original design failed,” Bevington explained.

Each student brought their best design to race in their class competitions, which ended with one champion per class. Dan Ruoff, Grace Engel and Hunter Pike came out on top and moved on to the finals along with the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers in each of their classes.

When the final checkered flag came down, the dragster crossing the finish line belonged to Dan Ruoff, making him Grand Champion.

Ruoff, Engel and Pike each received a personalized 3D-printed trophy to celebrate their achievements.