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Iowa Lakes Hosts Prairie Lakes Regional Physics Competition

April 20, 2017
Emmetsburg News

Iowa Lakes Community College hosted the Prairie Lakes Regional Physics Competition on Friday, March 31, at the Sustainable Energy Resources Technology Center on the Estherville campus.

"The competition was fabulous," said Erica Kilian, associate professor of physics at Iowa Lakes. "The space at the SERT Center is perfect for it. The contest lets students bring together science and technology in a competitive, yet fun atmosphere."

The physics competition is open to students in grades 9 through 12, and features five events. In the catapult competition, students need to use a catapult to get a ping pong ball as close as possible to targets set at multiple distances. The mouse trap car involves creating a vehicle powered by a mouse trap and getting it to go a specific distance. In the bridge building competition, students construct bridges out of toothpicks and glue. For the soda straw arm contest, students build crane-like arms from straws and use them to suspend a weight. Finally, there's the challenge problem, in which students use their physics knowledge to find the answer to a physics problem.

Article Photos

BRIDGE BUILDING -- Jordan Lange, left, and Madison Heisler, of the Emmetsburg Gold team, test the toothpick bridge they built for the contest to make sure the clearance below it was adequate for competition. --submitted photo

"It's a whole new interpretation of racing sports," Kilian said. "Skill, knowledge, artistry, and teamwork combine to create a great learning opportunity for the participants."

Two Emmetsburg High School teams competed Friday, and the gold team earned top honors with 46 points. They were Brennan Duhn and Ashley Overberg with the catapult; Mary Nelson and Frida Engen with the mousetrap car; Jordan Lange and Madison Heisler with the bridge building; Rachel Geelan and Natalie Kliegl with the soda straw arm; and Sara Fusco and Dalton Hauschen in the challenge problem competition.

Greene County High School and Emmetsburg's black team both earned 37 team points. Only one team from each school can advance to the state level, so the Greene County group qualifies. They are Megan Durbin and Rachael Danielson with the catapult; Thomas Jacobsen with the mousetrap car; Ben Wilkins and Zoe Joy with bridge building; Lucas Ausberger and Britton Gallagher with the soda straw arm; and Logan Kohl and Reid Stratton in the challenge problem contest.

Other competing schools were West Bend Mallard and Storm Lake, both of which had members achieve top honors in one of the five events. The top teams in each event were:

Catapult: Brennan Duhn/Ashley Overberg (Emmetsburg)

Mousetrap Car: Juan Espino (Storm Lake)

Bridge Building: Teagan Arfmann/Zach Brown (West Bend Mallard)

Soda Straw Arm: Lucas Ausberger/Britton Gallagher (Greene County)

Challenge Problem: Logan Kohl/Reid Stratton (Greene County)

Winning teams went to the 2017 State Physics Competition on Tuesday, April 11, at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar



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