Lone Peak High School’s award winning SECME Engineering Design mousetrap car. PHOTO COURTESY JOAH LEVINE

LPHS brings home engineering hardware

LPHS students win Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering national championship

The Bighorns have brought home the championship. Just probably not one you're thinking of. Unlike most recognition that Lone Peak High School students receive, mainly regarding sporting events, this is something unique. The Lone Peak High School robotics and engineering club brought home the title for SECME Engineering Design Mousetrap Cars in the high school division this spring. The robotics and engineering club included two LPHS students, Junior Carly Wilson and Sophomore Maddie Cone, along with the third member Joah Levine. Levine was not a student at LPHS however he was founder and driving force of the robotics and engineering club.

This club was completely the brain of the three high school students, mainly junior Joah Levine. Joah moved to Big Sky last fall from Southern Florida. He had been competing in SECME events ever since the seventh grade. However, Joah’s fascination with engineering and robotics dates back to his childhood days, “Originally I was a huge fan of Legos, but then I just wanted to expand from there,” said Levine.

The division they competed in was SECME. SECME stands for Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering. SECME aims to increase the amount of participation and opportunities for minorities and girls in engineering. “Our mission is to increase the pool of historically underrepresented and under prepared to enter and complete post-secondary studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), thus creating a diverse and globally competitive workforce,” according to the SECME website.

The challenge the three students competed in was designing a mousetrap car. They created a string loaded car out of a mousetrap and tested it to see who could have the best formula score. This formula accounted for multiple factors including size, weight, distance, speed and price.

The competition had a few very important requirements. The first of which was the car had to hold a ping pong ball throughout the test. The second was that everyone was given a $10 budget for their car. However, the LPHS club thought of a brilliant way to boost their score. “We figured out that if our car was made of completely recycled products it would count as one cent. The difference in the formula score between one cent and $10 is a multiple of 10,000,” Levine said.

This ended up paying huge dividends for their team.

The three students didn’t really think much of where they would place, they were just simply proud of their work. However, one fateful day this spring, the three students received an email from SECME, “I was honestly really surprised when I got that letter. It was Maddie and I’s first year doing it, but Joah told us we did a really good job this year. So, it was super surprising and super cool,” club member Carly Wilson said.

The letter explained to each of the three students that they had won first place in the high school division for their mousetrap car project. This is the first championship of this kind in LPHS school history, however it may not be the last. “I want to continue this club at LPHS next year, and hopefully get a middle school and elementary school going,” Levine said.

The community of Big Sky is very proud of your efforts and we hope to see this continue in the future.

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Lone Peak Lookout

Cori Koenig, editor: editor@lonepeaklookout.com
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