[Source: Heidi Rowley, Tucson Citizen] — Six hundred students from Arizona gathered during the weekend to participate in science and math competitions ranging from launching bottle rockets to designing a roller coaster. Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Day is an annual event for middle and high school students to apply what they have learned in classes. This year’s event took place Saturday at the University of Arizona.
Marcos Perez, a sophomore at Flowing Wells High School, and teammates Raymond Stoeckman and Zach Anderson, all 17, participated in the cargo bottle rocket competition and won first place. Teams were given supplies to make the rockets and had to launch and land them without breaking the egg on board. Their egg did not break. “Most of the problems were the parachutes didn’t deploy, or if they did, they came down too fast,” Perez said. This was his first competition.
Teams from each school are scored based on their placement in the competition, and one school each from the middle school and high school levels is an overall winner. This year, the victors were Amphitheater Middle School and Peoria High School in Peoria.
Manny Leon, MESA Day program coordinator at UA, said about 40 schools from around the state participated. New competitions this year included the roller coaster run, where students designed a roller coaster for a marble, and the “hit the target” laser challenge, during which students used mirrors to direct a laser beam.