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West Valley City Journal

Granger students win U of U’s catapult competition

Mar 26, 2019 02:43PM ● By Jess Nielsen Beach

Sixth-grade students, Korie Brooks (right) and Jocelyn Maestas pose together after winning the catapult competition at the U of U. (Photo courtesy Tammie Hannah)

By Jess Nielsen Beach | [email protected]

Elementary students across the valley worked tirelessly during February to achieve a goal set by the University of Utah—to build a catapult. Not just any catapult, however; one that could not only function properly, but be able to launch a marshmallow at a pie pan target from 12 feet away.

“Students had five 45-minute classes to build, test, and revise their catapults,” said Tammie Hannah, the science specialist at Granger Elementary. “The challenge was issued before they went to the university.”

The catapult challenge was how the University of Utah’s College of Engineering encouraged children to celebrate Engineering Day. The school hosted an Elementary Engineering Week Feb. 19-22, free for students, to help them apply practical knowledge to concepts and introduce the children to the field of engineering, encourage math and science interest, and bring together many people from different elementary schools.

All four sixth-grade classes at Granger Elementary worked on the project. Each class was then divided into teams where a class competition was held. The winners from that event were the ones chosen to move on to the competition at the university.

Preparations for the students were buoyed up by the addition of the STEM lab, new to Granger Elementary this year. The lab was constructed to encourage children to grow in their knowledge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and be challenged to broaden their minds on what have been classified as traditionally difficult subjects.

Hannah, who also serves as Granger Elementary’s STEM teacher, added that the new lab was crucial for the competition, as the students were able to use the space for their engineering projects.

Hard work paid off, and after an intense round of competition and several bags of marshmallows at the College of Engineering, two Granger students from Troy Gatherum’s class won the top spots. All sixth-grade students, 120 in total, were in attendance to show support and participate in the university’s activities.

Sixth graders Korie Brooks and Jocelyn Maestas showed off their engineering skills by winning first place.