HomeVoorhees NewsVMS students excel in local technology challenge

VMS students excel in local technology challenge

After weeks of practice and design, VMS students attended a technology challenge and competed in various competitions due to their interest in STEM

Seventh grade students from Voorhees Middle School competed in the 2019 Technology Challenge at Camden County Technical Schools Saturday, May 11. Pictured left to right is Nandini Rastogi, Tori LaFalce, Kaylyn Joesten, Mattea Dieckmann, Sophia Langan, Landon Jenter, Aubrey Whitcraft and Ava Malamut.

Voorhees Middle School sent eight seventh-grade students to compete in a STEM-related challenge last month, continuing the trend of getting young adults interested and involved in technology-related fields.

Camden County Technical Schools hosted its 2019 Technology Challenge Saturday, May 11, inviting South Jersey middle school students to assemble their teams and prepare for challenges as they relate to space exploration in honor of 2019 being the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, with a theme of “Mission: Space.”

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The technology challenge, entered by 18 teams from schools across South Jersey, according to Suzanne Golt of CCTS, allows student teams to earn points five ways, including a written essay presented to judges, a STEM trivia challenge, a physical challenge and their engineer’s notebook, as well as the big, build challenge and competition of creating a bottle rocket and attempting to have it reach higher than any other group’s.

According to Golt, a big emphasis of the day is the students being able to work together.

“The No. 1 goal is to have them work as a team,” said Golt. “We don’t want just one person to take the lead or anything.”

Voorhees Middle School students separated into two groups for the competition, the All Stars and Area 51. Students making up Area 51 won second place overall last year, while the All Stars this year won awards for public speaking and their engineering notebook, which Golt said received a near-perfect score for its thorough work and design.

The students say they had nearly two months to prepare for the challenge. Leading up to the challenge, the students would design various models of bottle rockets after school, complete with using different materials and models. As they continued to troubleshoot problems and update their designs, they were to log all work in their engineer’s notebook along the way, which was later handed in for grading by the judges.

VMS teacher Cammy Bell said the work the students did before and at the competition was remarkable, as they continue to excel in STEM-related fields as young adults.

“It’s essential for their careers, the careers they go into haven’t even been thought of yet,” said Bell. “As our society moves further with technology, it’s essential that they learn to think critically, revise projects and think outside the box.”

Despite entering the challenge for the first time last year as the youngest group, Bell says the students went into this year’s challenge with more experience and were more prepared.

“They were the youngest group last year, but this year they went in with more confidence, and they were very excited because they had such a great time last year and did so well,’ said Bell.

“It’s great experience for them and the most important thing is that they’re applying the things that they’ve learned in science and math to everyday career skills. It ties together and connects all their curricular areas,” added Bell.

Once at the competition, students were not able to bring outside materials and created a bottle rocket, with the help of a CCTS mentor who had previously attended VMS, using the specifications and design features that they believed worked the best after their weeks of practice leading up to the challenge in May.

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