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May 11, 2012 > Shake, Rattle, and Rescue

Shake, Rattle, and Rescue

Submitted By Jean Loreno

The Tech Challenge, a signature program of The Tech Museum, is an annual team design challenge for students in grades 5-12. It introduces and reinforces the science and engineering design process, with a hands-on project, geared to solving a real-world problem. This year, celebrating its 25th year, the competition has proven to be a landmark occasion. On April 21, the 1,433 contestants, led by Tim Ritchie, president of The Tech Museum of Innovation, shouted in unison, "I'm going to do the thing I think I cannot do!"

This year's real world problem was "Earthquakes," occurrences which are unavoidable and whose aftermath could be disastrous. Fremont's Hopkins Junior High School team ("Seismic Wave Busters"), created a device with common, low cost materials that would reach and rescue a person stranded on the severely damaged Golden Gate Bridge. To rescue the survivor, the team developed, brainstormed, presented ideas by designing, constructing and repeatedly testing. Throughout the months leading up to the competition, the students documented their creative process in a design journal.

The "Seismic Wave Busters" team members, who participated in this challenge, were Hopkins 8th graders: Dwayne Bhatia, Shivam Parikh, Nihal Maunder and Ravi Bethamcharla. They successfully "rescued their survivor" and also won the award for Best Verbal Presentation in the Style and Presentation category.

Photo Caption: (Left to right): Dwayne Bhatia, Shivam Parikh, Ravi Bethamcharla and Nihal Maunder, wear their fire-proof rescue uniforms.

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