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St. Margaret’s JETS Team Takes First Place at Competition

11 March 2011 admin 2,938 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

By Joe Ingalls, Upper School Chemistry and Physics Teacher and JETS Advisor

Eight St Margaret’s students traveled to University of Southern California on Saturday to compete in the 2011 Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS). The students finished as the top team in their school level division and took first place over all teams competing at USC, regardless of size. A follow-up showed that this year’s team also took first place in Division 2 for all of California, which included schools competing at Stanford University on the same day. The team consisted of: seniors Daniel Golly (co-captain), Johnny Li (co-captain) and Felipe Soto; juniors George Clemmons and Barrett Travis; sophomores Victoria Lee and Austin Russell; and freshman Brian Lee.

The JETS TEAMS program is an annual high school competition challenging students to work collaboratively and apply their math and science knowledge in practical, creative ways to solve real everyday engineering challenges. After participating in TEAMS, students increase their knowledge of engineering, feel more confident about participating in engineering activities and increase their ability to work with others to solve complex problems.

The TEAMS competition helps develop “STEM-capable” students in an engaging way by showing them how math and science, with engineering focus are used to make tangible differences in the world. To prepare for the competition, each registered school and group receives preparatory materials including a coach guide, competition scenarios or topics that will be presented during the event, supplemental hands-on activities, lesson plans, and tips for group decision-making and problem-solving strategies.

“Not only was the JETS competition a lot of fun, but it was also a mind-opening experience,” said sophomore Victoria Lee. “My teammates and I were given the opportunity to apply our science and math skills to solve problems that our global community faces today. For example, in one of the scenarios, we analyzed the reasons for the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill and learned how to modify the emergency shut-down system to prevent further catastrophes. My attitude towards scientists and engineers as lonely individuals who work alone for long hours in offices, completely changed after this competition. Yes, research and hard work are necessary for success, but it is collaboration amongst individuals that truly solves the problems. The success we had this year could not have been possible without our great teamwork and leadership under Mr. Ingalls, Johnny Li and Daniel Golly. I can’t wait to start assembling next year’s team and preparing for the competition!”

More than 10,000 grade 9-12 TEAMS gathered for a one-day event over a four-week period from February 14 through March 15 at 130 competition sites in 43 states and the District of Columbia, including 64 colleges and universities. This year’s topic and challenge dealt with energy and the global need for diversification, efficiency, security and ecological sustainability. For three hours, the St. Margaret’s team worked together to answer engineering problems related to energy.

Working in a written competition format, the St. Margaret’s team faced off against other high school teams during two ninety-minute parts:

• Part 1: Eight scenarios with 10 multiple choice questions each, requiring team members to apply math and science knowledge to novel situations.

• Part 2: Eight tasks to be answered in a short essay format, expanding students’ ideas as they explain their ideas for engineering solutions.

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