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Groups of high school students from throughout southeast Ohio huddled together Friday to try to solve hypothetical engineering challenges for the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS) local competition, hosted by Ohio University’s Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology.
Four teams of four to eight students answered 80 multiple-choice and five short-essay questions in the two-part challenge that revolved around the 2014 TEAMS theme, “Engineering Tomorrow’s Cities -- Improving Urban Infrastructure.” Based on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge to “restore and improve urban infrastructure,” students addressed areas such as transportation, green space and fresh water supply.
“The Russ College wants to encourage future engineers, and this is a great way of helping them see their abilities and get recognition,” said Jody Markley, Russ College director of multicultural experiences. “It’s really cool that young kids are learning that engineers work as a team, solving complex issues together.”
The Russ College hosted two teams from Parkersburg South High School and two from Waverly High School. Taking place at more than 100 locations nationwide, the one-day competitions began Feb. 10 and run until March 22.
“It’s a really exciting adventure to use the math we learn in class in real-life applications,” said Amanda Entler, TEAMS coach for Waverly High School.
Students are allowed to have pencils and calculators as well as any reference books, periodic charts, special equations, lab notes, class notes or other written materials they can procure.
Parkersburg South High School “Team A” won first place and Waverly High School “Team A” won second place as determined by their multiple-choice scores in part one. The teams whose part-one scores met a minimum score will have their part-two essays read and scored to determine state winners. The national competition will be held in Washington, D.C., in June.
Waverly “Team A” competitor Hannah Martin said there were points where the team struggled.
“We all have different opinions and viewpoints,” the senior explained. “Especially on the writing portions where the answers are so variable. It’s about bringing together the best of everyone’s opinion and making it one creative, correct answer.”
The first place Parkersburg South team used the strategy of splitting everything up in groups of two, which they credit for their winning performance.
“I had a lot of fun and I was really glad that we won,” said senior Alexa Anderson. “We struggled a little bit staying focused, but when we were on task we did a really good job.”
Senior Caleb McHenry explained that having fun is another approach the winning team used.
“I’m on a team with a bunch of like-minded people, and we just really enjoy each other’s company,” he said. “We don’t really like focus on the competition. It’s a lot of fun for us.”
Carol Peck, a coach for Parkersburg South, hoped her students got an idea of what college-level testing is like and a glimpse of campus life at Ohio University.
“To me, for them to be able to come here and just be in college for a day is worth the trip,” she said.