Students show off technology skills

Elizabeth teens compete at statewide conference

Tabatha Stewart
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 3/9/20

Do you know how to run an official meeting according to Robert’s Rules of Order? Can you use a rat trap to power a car? Have you ever designed a miniature golf course? Students from Elizabeth High …

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Students show off technology skills

Elizabeth teens compete at statewide conference

Posted

Do you know how to run an official meeting according to Robert’s Rules of Order? Can you use a rat trap to power a car? Have you ever designed a miniature golf course?

Students from Elizabeth High School’s Technology Student Association did all three while competing at the Colorado Technology Student Association Conference in February at the Denver Tech Center. Ten students from the EHS club battled it out with more than 1,800 middle and high school students from across the state at the conference, and placed in the top tiers of each category.

Nora Carriker took third place in the Fore! Competition, which pairs a high school student with an elementary school student, and they work together to create a miniature-golf hole based on the vision of the younger student. Carriker’s young partner wanted an “under the sea” theme, so they created a scene with a little mermaid, some seashells and sand made of crushed Cheerios.

“Anything the elementary student has envisioned is what the high school student is responsible for making into a reality,” said Jon Taylor, a teacher at EHS and TSA club advisor. “They really got creative, and worked hard leading up to the competition.”

The hole is not to scale for an actual miniature-golf course — instead, a small marble is used for the ball. Carriker didn’t use a putter, but instead designed a mechanical wheel and spun the marble through it, shooting it out the back side, down a ramp, through some obstacles and into the hole.

Bryson Kolz placed within the top 10 contestants for his Rat Trap Drag Race entry, where he used his problem-solving and engineering knowledge to harness the energy from the force of the spring bar to propel a small car down the track. Kolz designed the car himself, including building the frame, axles and wheels.

“This event isn’t only judged on the performance of the race,” said Taylor. “He also had to provide judges with blueprints, a written concept and then present to the judges a verbal explanation of his concept. Placing in the top 10 out of all the students from Colorado is a pretty big accomplishment.”

The Chapter Team advanced to the semifinals for their presentation of Robert’s Rules of Order. Team members Courtney Tauger, Gabe Zepeda, Jason Hennager, Logan McMullen, Dominic Richey and Nora Carriker first had to qualify by passing an electronic test before advancing in the competition.

“In preparation I had my students watch some of the impeachment trial, because they’re using the same rules of order for that process,” said Taylor.

During the semifinals the team ran a mock meeting in front of the judges, but didn’t place in the top three.

Elizabeth High School was one of the original three schools in Colorado to start a TSA chapter in 1987, and the chapter has competed at the COTSA event every year since. Taylor has been leading the group for the past 22 years.

“This competition is really good for students, especially if they want to go into the technology world,” said Taylor. “They get the opportunity to engage with other students and collaborate. So many students are on their phones all the time and that’s how they interact. Here they are face to face, and on a personal level rather than an electronic level.”

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