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Students put STEM skills to use during Pumpkin Slinging Contest

Introduce a Girl to Engineering 2018

Sussex County Technical School students launched a pumpkin 136.7 meters to take top prize in a battle between high schools over which team could sling pumpkins farthest into Lake Picatinny in the third annual iteration of the Pumpkin Slinging Contest.

Pumpkin Slinging 2018

The Sussex school students edged out Madison High School’s 134.5-meter launch in the third round of the contest.

More than 100 northern New Jersey students from eight schools matched engineering wits in a competition between the various catapult, trebuchet or launcher creations posi-tioned in a parking lot in front of the lake.

Also participating in this year’s competition were Dover Middle School, Essex High School, Livingston High School, Morris Knolls High School, Morristown High School and West Orange High School.

Pumpkin Slinging 2018

Last year, Sussex County Technical School was disqualified for safety reasons, said student team member Chance Tempe. This year, Tempe’s teammates brought the same frame from last year competition but with modifications to make it more stable. Also, they outfitted the frame with a lighter, stronger arm made of metal instead of wood.

The pumpkin slinging contest allows participants to use science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in a fun and competitive way. By building catapults to sling pumpkins, participants use physics and mathematics skills such as linear kinematics, projectile motion, trigonometry, and engineering physics.

“What this represents is the benefit of science and engi-neering and applying it in the real world situations,”” said Picatinny Arsenal Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Alfred Abramson.

Pumpkin Slinging 2018

The pumpkin slinging competition is one of many activities that are part of Picatinny’s STEM Educational Outreach Program. Nearly 200 Picatinny scientists and engineers have volunteered to support STEM education. That support includes over 1,000 classroom visits, staffing over 100 educa-tional field trips to Picatinny Arsenal’s working laboratories, assisting nearly 800 teachers, and inspiring 50,000 students in over 400 schools.

The STEM program supports public and private schools, colleges and universities with no-cost assistance, professional development training, new instructional equipment and monetary and advisory support to student robotics teams.

They also offer engineer mentors, sponsorship of student competitions, and opportunities to visit scientists and engi-neers in their laboratories, where students get a first-hand look at how professionals rise to meet STEM challenges.

Skills learned in the course of pumpkin slinging com-petition may someday lead some student participants to contribute to U.S. defense needs at the Arsenal or make STEM contributions to society, said Shah Dabiri, director of Picatinny STEM outreach.Students put STEM skills to use during Pumpkin Slinging contest

- Timothy Rider, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

Original article:
The Picatinny Voice