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April 29, 2014 > Harnessing the wind at the Tech Challenge

Harnessing the wind at the Tech Challenge

Submitted By Juliana O'Brien and Michelle Tran

For 27 years, The Tech Challenge held at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose has inspired creativity and equipped students with hands-on experiences in engineering design and real-world problem solving. This yearÕs event was held on the weekend of April 12 Ð 13. As the largest team-design competition in the Bay Area, thousands of students put their imaginations to the test.

One of The TechÕs deepest beliefs is that everyone is born to be a problem solver, said Museum President Tim Ritchie. The Tech Challenge gives participants an opportunity to experience and show how innovative they can be.

Each year, the annual team design-challenge presents participants with a hands-on project geared to solving a real-world problem. This yearÕs challenge, ÒHarnessing the Wind,Ó saw students use the power of wind to move water to the people who need it most. Participants revealed their entrepreneurial spirits and tried their hand at utilizing the wind as a plausible solution to lowering the total energy consumption in the moving and processing of water.

The Tech Challenge, a signature program of The Tech, provides months of team learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and reinforces 21st-century skills of creativity, problem solving, design, teamwork, leadership, presentation, risk-taking, perseverance, and learning from failure.

ÒThe ingenuity and commitment exemplified by students at The Tech Challenge is extraordinary,Ó said Jessica Graham, CiscoÕs Community Relations Manager. ÒOur Cisco volunteers here today welcome the opportunity to inspire the next generation of innovators.Ó

In all, 1,200 students stepped up to the challenge to use the renewable energy source for this yearÕs competition. Teams competed for several titles ranging from ÒMost SustainableÓ to ÒBest Engineering DesignÓ to ÒBest Prototyping.Ó Every participant also received a medal, T-shirt, water bottle, and team photo for their hard work, ingenuity and dedication.

Winning teams from the Greater Tri-City area:
5th and 6th Grade Division:
Best Overall 2nd Place
FOuR the WINdz
Team # 15
John Sinnott Elementary School (Milpitas Unified)

Judges Choice
Team # 603
Mission San Jose and Chadbourne Elementary (Fremont Unified)

7th and 8th Grade Division
Best Engineering Design Process 1st Place
Team # 619
Homeschoolers of the East Bay

High School Division
Best Device Performance 1st Place
Team # 29
Mission San Jose High School (Fremont Unified)

Best Overall 1st Place
H2I Ð Happy to Innovate
Team # 72
Fremont Home School Team

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