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Ritenour’s Engineering Students Cap E-Week with Bionic Arm Challenges, Boat Races and Amazing Projects

Design Challenge Winners Ritenour middle and high school students showcased their engineering savvy building bionic arms, cardboard boats and classroom projects during Ritenour’s eighth-annual Engineering Week (E-Week) March 14-16.

Approximately 200 students enrolled in Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering courses from Ritenour High School and Hoech and Ritenour Middle schools participated in this year’s E-Week activities.

During the design challenge, 30 small groups of students were challenged to make a bionic arm that could pick up a cotton ball, paper cup and tennis ball and drop it in a container two feet away. Groups were given tape, cardboard box, rubber bands, paint stirrer, toilet paper roll, string and metal clasps to create their bionic arm.

The group whose bionic arm picked up the three objects fastest won. RHS Elias Myers, Ryan Howerton, Divine Adelman and Hoech Middle School students Ashlyn Wilson, Addy Watts and Phillip Jones combined their brainpower to make the winning device, which completed the tasks in 4 seconds.

Cardboard Boat winners: RHS Titanic 2.1 Fourteen cardboard boats made by PLTW students made it into the RHS pool for the annual race. The winning boat, ironically named the Titanic 2.1, outlasted all the others. Creators of the boat were RHS students Dakota Wagster, Clarissa Gaona Romero, Carlos Pacheco, Julissa Gaona and Yazmin Rico Hurtado.

Students and members of the community had the opportunity also to visit engineering exhibits that showcased 11 senior Capstone projects and 30 projects from PLTW freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Projects included Rube Goldberg machines, projectile launchers, digital circuitry, biomedical engineering displays, computer-engineered robots and other projects that represented RHS’ 10 engineering courses. 

In addition, engineering representatives from Ameren, Boeing, University of Missouri-Columbia, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Saint Louis University and St. Louis Community College offered both interactive and informational booths for students.

RHS students culminated E-Week with a tour through the Mizzou’s College of Engineering.