Oil City Place First in STEM Competition Held at RIU#6

| March 8, 2019

CLARION, Pa. – Oil City Area High School placed first in the regional PA Governor’s STEM Competition held at Riverview Intermediate Unit #6 headquarters on February 28.

This annual competition provides local school districts with a unique opportunity to tackle authentic problems utilizing skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

This year’s competition, “Improving Pennsylvania Through STEM”, featured teams of students from Allegheny-Clarion Valley, Oil City, Titusville, and Valley Grove school districts.

The competition included three phases: Project Plan, Project Presentation, and Project in a Box. Each team received a $500 stipend and were challenged to research and identify a real-world problem facing Pennsylvanians. The task was to develop a prototype that provides a practical solution to the identified problem. Teams were also required to provide a detailed project plan including a budget.

On the day of the competition, the teams demonstrated and explained the practical application of their device to a panel of judges. In addition, teams competed in a design thinking challenge called Project-in-a-Box. Each team was tasked to build a parachute using provided materials. The teams were scored on 21st-century learning skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

Here are the teams that participated:

Allegheny-Clarion Valley: Needle Dropbox
Team Members: Sydney Palmer, Ethan Perry, Lydia Seaton, Austin Cratty, and Caleb Penny and advisors Allie Atwood and Joe Graf

Oil City Area: Cuptrastrophe, Snow Filtration Cup
Team Members: Zachary Bensink, Michael Horn, Grant Turner and advisor Wendy Masters 

Titusville: Hanging Aquaponics Garden
Team Members: Joey Banner Chance Dow, Gavin Los, Lindsey Kemp, Ethan Zdarko and advisor Ted Banner

Rocky Grove: Adapta-desk
Team Members: Matalyn Diven, Jackson Donovan, Jasey Donovan, Anabell Hawkins, Grace Beach and advisor Bridget Kennedy

First place was awarded to Oil City Area High School. They created Cuptastrophe, this invention converts snow to water and filters it for safe, clean drinking, allowing for hunters to stay in the woods longer, save money on purchasing water, and limit plastic waste. The students partnered with Tim Lyons from Venango Technology Center and George Allman from Liberty Electronics as community mentors and partners.

Titusville High School earned second place. Their project was a Hanging Aquaponics Garden. This system takes advantage of the aquaponics form of gardening but instead of a tank, pipes were used to house both the fish and the plants, making it a more compact way to combat the rising problem of hunger in their community. The team partnered with Morrison’s Sporting Goods, a local building materials supplier in their community.

Allegheny-Clarion Valley set out to solve the problem of used needle disposal by designing a dropbox with a 3D printed funnel with teeth so needles could not be removed from the box.

Rocky Grove Jr-Sr High School partnered with the RIU#6 Early Intervention program and Deena Croyle, an Assistive Technology Consultant. The students created the Adapta-desk, a teacher/aide portable assistive device that holds learning resources and students’ materials, with adjustable height and tilt movement.

The competition judges included: Dr. Doug Smith, Clarion University professor; Julie Hartley, RIU6 board member; Diana Brush from Clarion University’s Career Development Center; Jill Foys, Executive Director of Northwest Commission; Pat Bish and Engineer with Komatsu Mining Corp.; Jack Matson and Herb Bullers, Jefferson County Commissioners; and Natalie Aiello, 4-H Youth Development Education with Penn State Extension.

Throughout the day, the students participated in various activities including an escape room game called Breakout EDU with the PA Army National Guard, an engineering design challenge with Patty Anderson from Penn State Extension 4-H STEM Team and Brian Dorfner with Apple Education who demoed virtual reality and augmented reality apps and how students can begin to create their own by using Apple’s Swift Playground.

RIU#6 would like to thank the following community partners for providing giveaway bag items to each participant: Advanced Disposal Services, Inc., Brookville Equipment, Electralloy G.O. Carlson, Komatsu Mining Corp., Metco, SFPC, Triangle Tech, and Webco.

Regional competitions were held at intermediate units throughout the state during the month of February.  The state finals will take place on May 9 and 10, 2019 at Dixon University in Harrisburg, PA.

For more information on RIU6 programs and services, please visit the website at www.riu6.org or call 814-226-7103.

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