Students build through STEM

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Photos: Students competed to build a robotic arm. Tyrelle Anthony (top) won first prize and $200. Dakota Thaxton (above) was awarded second prize and $100.

During the month of November, a select number of Career Preparedness students were challenged to create a hydraulic system, stemming from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lectures they were taught during the month of October. The challenge was about creating hydraulic systems to make something functional. The student had to build a robotic arm with the capability to move and grip something (in this case, an empty soda can). Engineers create machinery and parts, daily, discovering various types of mechanical designs to make things work or function.

The principle behind a hydraulic system is to use an incompressible liquid to exert a force from one point to another. Generating forces and motion is a part of science as well. Hence, the challenge contained aspects of both science and engineering. In the challenge, the syringe, piping and water all worked together as a hydraulic system (to exert forces that created motion and movement). Engineers incorporate hydraulic systems into various types of equipment and machine designs that surrounds us every day (ex. airplanes use hydraulics to control landing gear, cars use hydraulics in their brake system, dump trucks use hydraulics to lift and lower their dumps, even a salon/barber’s chair also have a hydraulic system in it to make it raise or lower when someone needs to adjust the height of the seat.)

Students were given all materials and exactly one month to build their own robotic arm. The prizes were $200 for 1st place and $100 for 2nd place. Tyrelle Anthony was awarded the 1st place prize and Dakota Thaxton was awarded 2nd.