Portland, Ore. – Kudos to this year's Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement) teams from Franklin High School and Ockley Green Middle School for taking the top honors at this year's Oregon MESA Day. The two teams will represent Oregon MESA at the 2010 MESA USA National Engineering Design Challenge held at the University of Colorado Denver campus on June 24-27.
Oregon MESA is an after-school pre-college program to provide students underrepresented in the fields of mathematics, engineering, science and technology with the skills, knowledge and opportunities to develop their talents, explore technology-based careers, enter college and compete successfully in the workforce. The annual Oregon MESA Day provided over 200 diverse 6th-12th grade students from 16 Portland-area schools the opportunity to share their projects and perform team-based math, science and engineering challenges.
For the national competition qualifier, teams prepared for a wind energy challenge – researching, designing, building and testing windmill devices that would capture available wind energy to complete several tasks. Middle school students were tested on the ability of their designs to raise a weight (mechanical power) as well as their windmill's ability to pull and accelerate a model vehicle through a track (kinetic energy). High school teams also had to demonstrate their windmill's ability to rotate a generator to create power in response to changes in wind direction.
In addition to the wind energy challenges, Oregon MESA teams participated in other fun challenges for medals.
Several Lemelson Foundation staff and one of our board members helped volunteer at the event – it was a great opportunity for us to interact with these young engineers and to see first-hand their creative approaches to the challenges. Congratulations to all the participants, and good luck to the Franklin High School and Ockley Green Middle School teams next month at the Nationals!