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Local Engineers to Judge as Middle School Students Compete in Straw Tower Challenge

Judging the contest every year are engineers from Lockheed Martin in Marion. This year's judges are David Clement, senior manufacturing engineer; Caty Duncan, electrical engineer; and Grace Kish, quality program manager and the parent of two GLCPS students.

A winning tower has to have at least 25 cm (almost nine inches) in height. It's first tested for its ability to hold a tennis ball for five seconds. If it passes muster, it must then be able to hold a 500 ml (almost 17 oz) water-filled bottle for five seconds.

The Straw Tower Challenge activity coordinated across all middle school grades helps kick off the school year. Students have been working on their towers during the first three weeks of school.

There are approximately 40 teams from each middle school grade. Trials are held in class to determine a homeroom winner. One team from each homeroom competes in the finals which is what visitors will see on Friday.

"The Straw Tower Challenge really sets the tone for the middle school. It builds on important concepts for us at GLCPS, such as collaboration, critical thinking and creativity which are all part of project-based learning," said Zajac.

The contest begins at 9 am.