Pleasant Valley students make finals of state STEAM Tank Challenge

Team was one of three from the school to participate in the challenge.

Courtesy of Harrison Township School District. A team from Natalie Markey’s innovations and design class have moved on to the finals of the New Jersey STEAM Tank Challenge which will take place on May 31.

A team of four fifth grade students from Pleasant Valley Elementary School (PVS), whose parents wished to not have them named, have managed to reach the finals of the New Jersey STEAM Tank Challenge which will be held virtually on Friday May 31.

The students are taught by Natalie Markey who has her class participate in the challenge every year.

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“Each year students in Ms. Markey’s Innovations and Design (ID) class have the opportunity to participate in the NJ STEAM Tank Challenge,” Markey said on the school’s Facebook page. “The challenge invites all New Jersey public schools to SPARK Innovation-the program gives students the chance to invent, modify or use problem-solving skills to solve real-world problems.”

The team presented the idea for the invention, the Abdominal Thruster, in a Zoom meeting with the judges on April 11. The thruster is a device designed to help people choking in the event they are home alone or they are with someone who does not know the Heimlich maneuver.

The team also stated that the invention would be environmentally sustainable by using chrome-free, manufactured faux-leather, combustible foam made from corn and recycled metal.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. The challenge is hosted by the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA). The association received 578 applications for this year’s competition, according to their website.

“This year’s application pool consists of more than 70 districts and 101 schools from 19 counties,” says the NJSBA website. “Student teams from elementary, middle and high schools submitted videos showcasing their ideas.

“STEAM Tank allows teams to take the challenge in any direction they wish. No matter what they create or what problem they seek to solve, students must learn to consider the impact of environmental and climate change, whether direct or indirect.”

Two other teams from PVS also competed and managed to qualify for the regionals with their inventions, the Magical Wheelchair and M.E.G magnet, but did not qualify for the finals. Despite this, Markey still praised all the teams for their work in the challenge.

“Congratulations to all entries, and especially to these three groups of young innovators,” she said.

The Harrison Township School District Facebook page praised the teams for their work as well and so did the official NJSBA STEAM Tank page.

“From customized wheelchair accessories, magnetic energy and life saving devices these STEAM entrepreneurs are changing lives one idea and invention at a time,” said the STEAM Tank Page. “Congratulations on a job well done. Be proud.”

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