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Technology Competition Highlights Students’ Creative Designs

BOONE–It can’t rival the Nevada Salt Flats, but Broome Kirk Gymnasium will become a high-speed testing ground during the Technology Student Association Competition March 4 at Appalachian State University.

More than 150 middle and high school students from Winston-Salem, Charlotte and the northwest counties will test their design, construction and other skills during a variety of activities.

For instance, students will race balsa wood dragsters powered by CO2 (carbon dioxide) cartridges along a racetrack in the gymnasium. The cars can reach speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour, according to technology professor Marie Hoepfl, albeit for a short duration.

Students also will participate in a flight challenge competition in which student-designed and constructed balsa wood gliders will be flown in the gymnasium. The goal is to design the glider that stays aloft for the longest period of time.

The event also includes desktop design, engineering, construction, electrical, mechanical and communication competitions.

Appalachian is one of only four universities in the state offering certification in technology education, Hoepfl said. The demand for technology teachers is so great, most of her students have multiple job offers prior to graduation, some with signing bonuses.

Technology education is more than training students for a specific career, Hoepfl said. It introduces students to the variety of ways technology is a part of their lives and helps them hone their problem solving, communication and critical thinking skills.

“Typically we find that students, regardless of their career goals, will take a technology education class, ” Hoepfl said.

“It makes them more knowledgeable about a variety of technologies, not just computers. And there is a lot of integration with math, science and technology.”

The competition runs from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Kerr Scott Hall and Broome Kirk Gymnasium.

The dragster competition begins at 9 a.m. in Broom Kirk Gym. The flight challenge begins at noon, also in the gym.

For more information call Hoepfl at (828) 262-3122.