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Chapin High Engineering Students put Modern Touch on Winter Villages

These aren’t your grandma’s Christmas villages.

When the students at Chapin High School’s Principles of Engineering were asked to participate in the Winter Wonderland Engineering Contest as part of the 2016 Project Lead the Way, they strayed away from the cute Victorian villages we are used to seeing during the holidays.

Instead, the students in the class used their knowledge of engineering to create modern winter villages filled with lights, sound and motion … all while using recyclable materials.

“The project demonstrates an application of all the principles in engineering skills that the students have been working on this semester,” magnet coordinator Johanna Daniels-Sherman said.

news_2595_mThe contest challenged students to create a winter village incorporating sound, light and motion. Students first created a blueprint before setting to the task of making their designs come to life as a 3-D model.

Each of the six Principles of Engineering classes created its own village, which then were displayed for public view and scoring by judges at the Chapin Rotunda. More than 100 students worked together to make the project happen.

“It’s a little bit of a class competition and a little bit of individual performance,” Daniels-Sherman said. “We brought in members of the community to serve as judges, as well as some freshman and eight grade students interested in the program.”

Sophomore Christina Bowling’s class had a global take on the project that featured landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China.

“We picked our project to represent Christmas around the world,” Bowling said. “I really like the engineering program because you really get to work on a lot of computer programs and hands-on projects like this. Incorporating engineering with the holidays is a really great idea.

Student Kiara Morales’ class project featured a spinning tree, snowman and ice-skating rink, as well as a robotic snowplow.

“I think this is fun. It gives us an opportunity to learn more about engineering,” Morales said. “We are allowed to be a lot more creative with the project. “The competition is really friendly, and there is a lot of diversity with our different mechanisms.”

Students were judged on different criteria, including creativity and technical skills and application.

“The overall goal is to demonstrate an understanding of the principles to include circuitry, architecture, creativity and design,” Daniels-Sherman said. “There are extra credit opportunities for the winners — in addition to fame.”

The potential for extra credit and all the fame went to following classes:

— First place: Operation Christmas, third period
— Second place: Nightmare Before Christmas, seventh period
— Third place: Christmas Around the Small World, first period

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