Sixth-graders from the STARBASE 2.0 after-school mentoring program at North Plains and Dakota Elementary at Minot Air Force Base won a national car design contest in June.
Lisa Murphy, director of STARBASE North Dakota, said students from STARBASE programs across the country took part in the contest.
Children in the after-school program, which began in January, met twice a month for two hours during the after school program and worked in teams to design a faster car, using computer-aided design software to create a 3-D model of their car body.
Submitted Photo - - From left, Aaron Edens, Grace Coffelt and Trinity Chapa display their winning race car design.
Submitted Photo - - Minot Air Force Base student Grace Coffelt works on the design of the team’s race car.
Murphy said all of the students began by designing identical standard cars using computer-aided design software. Upon completion of the standard design, the students tested their cars using both a simulated race track on the computer and then physically racing their cars on a real race track.
After analyzing the initial results from the track testing, the students then worked in teams of three along with their adult mentors to study the science and math principles involved in designing a faster, more aerodynamic race car. The teams then sketched a prototype design on paper and designated a team designer who created a three-dimensional model of the race car using computer-aided design.
After the designers completed the designs of the new prototypes, they had to run several tests in the software to be sure they had created a more aerodynamic car. All seven teams successfully accomplished that goal. The three-dimensional car models for each team were sent to the Department of Defense STARBASE One in Detroit where they were manufactured in a modeling machine. When the completed prototypes returned from Michigan, the students had a chance to race their own cars on the track and compare the performance of the standard car with their new prototypes.
The teams were also responsible for keeping track of a project budget, as well as creating a marketing poster and PowerPoint presentation describing the experience. All race car designs, marketing posters, and PowerPoint presentations, in addition to oral presentations, were evaluated by five judges (consisting of an administrator, military members, and community members).
The Racemaster team, made up of Grace Coffelt, Trinity Chapa and Aaron Edens were the state winners and then became the national winners. Teacher Amy Englehard was the winning team's mentor.
All of the teams received manufactured cars built to their design and raced them on a race track. The national winners also got a starter race track and remote control cars to race at home.