A team of sixth graders from Northmoor Elementary won the Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Competition.
Jenn Stormer is the STEM Teacher at Northmoor Elementary School. She learned about the competition the NSTA conference in Cincinnati. Students develop a proposed solution to a current problem they research.
“I thought of Bennett and Alex immediately,” Stormer said.
“Immediately when she brought it up, I was thinking of ideas,” sixth grade Northmoor student, Bennett Stouder said.
“Bennet thought of a turbine system that could go on the sides of runways that would be powered by jet engines,” sixth grade Northmoor student, Alex Hoying said.
Stouder said he was already interested in jet engines and rockets. Through his research he discovered the airline industry produces the same amount of CO2 per year as the continent of Africa.
“I wanted to work on making jet engine more efficient, but then I thought we could take the air behind jet engines and use that spin turbines behind it to generate electricity and power at airports and other things,” Stouder said.
Stouder and Hoying came up with Groud-Based Airport Runway Turbines.
“They never cease to amaze me, but this just kind of drove home that point,” Stormer said, “because as the teacher you’re really just supposed to facilitate them you’re not supposed to help them with the actual research or ideas. These boys just amazed me the whole way through because they were so motivated and so knowledgeable.”
They started the project in December and submitted their idea for the regional competition in February.
“They found out that they were regional winners literally the week before the COVID closures started,” Stormer said.
Stouder and Hoying then prepared their research to be judged at the national level against five other teams in the fourth through sixth grade division.
“Heading into the nationals I was just shocked,” Hoying said, “I wasn’t sure if we were going to even get there or not. This was our first time.”
The results were announced online in May.
“I messaged Mrs. Stormer to see if it was correct and it ended up being correct,” Stouder said.
“I thought she was just joking. I just couldn’t believe it,” Hoying said.
The idea earned each of them a $10,000 bond they can use to further their education.
Hoying knows he really enjoys math and science. Stouder hopes to continue to study aerospace engineering and theoretical physics.
“My favorite part was sitting down and doing the research,” Stouder said.
“It made me feel that I could do more than I originally knew I could,” Hoying said.
“They just amaze me and I am excited to see what they do with their lives and what they do with the world. I get to have them for four years, so I hate to see them move on to middle school, but I am excited to see what great things they will do,” Stormer said.
The award ceremony in Washington D.C. was canceled due to the coronavirus. The students did attend a virtual ceremony featuring Bill Nye.
Stouder asked him a question about NASA working with private companies.
“It was just pretty cool to be able to ask him things about science and what he thought about it,” Stouder said.