Patterson HS

4th Annual STEM Challenge 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, & High School:
How to Survive These & Other Natural

November 17, 2011



our plane runs into a tornado and gets Ilung sideways, with the controls no longer responding. To make
matters worse, you test your parachute and it doesn`t work. ou and your best Iriend must Iigure out a way to
make a protective drop container, using only the supplies at hand, beIore the plane crashes into the ground. The
goal oI this event is to design and build the least massive device to saIely transport two eggs (you and your best
Iriend) through a 4 meter drop and have it land saIely without breaking. Only use the materials listed below, or
your team will be disqualiIied.

8½¨x11¨ Printer Paper (10) Balloon (1) Straws (10)
Rubber Bands (4) Masking Tape (36¨)

Scoring The least massive device Ior which both eggs remain undamaged and uncracked will receive a score
oI 200 points, the next least massive 195, etc. The least massive device Ior which only one eggs remains
uncracked will receive a score oI 100 points, the next least massive 95, etc.


The goal oI this event is to design and build a ship that will Iloat and protect the maximum number oI marbles
out oI a
6 inch x 12 inch piece oI aluminum Ioil. Each team will be allowed two pieces oI aluminum Ioil, one Ior a
practice and the second Ior the competition. The practice piece must be turned in to the judges beIore the
oIIicial piece may be obtained. ou do not have to use the second piece oI Ioil, but one is available iI the team
chooses to use it. The Iinal design must Iloat with the marbles Ior ten seconds. When you wish to have your
barge timed, just call Ior the judge. Once your device has been timed, you may not add more marbles. II your
device sinks during the practice run or while being timed and there is still time leIt in the event, you may reIloat
the barge. II the barge sinks while being timed and there is time leIt, you may not add more marbles to the
device, but you may remove some to reIloat it.

Scoring The team that Iloats the maximum number oI marbles will receive a score oI 200 points, second place
195 points, etc. In case oI a tie, the teams involved will be called back Ior a second attempt, this time with an
odd shaped piece oI aluminum Ioil. The team that Iloats the maximum number oI marbles receives 20 points,
second place 19, etc.


The goal oI this event is to construct a tower to both A) hold a tennis ball at its top, and B) stand up to an
earthquake (a weight dropped 6¨ away). The tower must be Iree standing and selI-supporting. The tennis ball
must stay on top oI the tower at all times. Each team will be given

Paper 8.5¨ x 11¨ sheets (5) Toothpicks (20) Marshmallows (25)
Paper clips (3) Straws (10) Stirrer straws (10)
Angel hair sticks (5) Masking tape (20¨)

Scoring The team with the tallest tower that withstands the earthquake while keeping the tennis ball on top
will receive a score oI 200 points, second tallest 195, etc, minimum 100. The team with the tallest tower that
supports the tennis ball but does not withstand the earthquake will receive 95 points, second tallest 90, etc.


The city oI Baltimore is in need oI a new escape apparatus Ior areas that become Ilooded during heavy rains.
The city council wants the new buildings to be equipped with a zip line designed to saIely carry people over the
Ilooded areas. The system has to be dependable Ior the Iear oI potential lawsuits against the city. our job as
an engineer oI your own Iirm is to design, build, and test a vehicle that will carry a ping pong ball across a zip
line made oI Iishing string Irom point A to point B. The vehicle will be powered by one (1) balloon. Once the
vehicle is released Irom point A, it cannot be touched until the vehicle comes to a complete stop. ou will have
the opportunity Ior two oIIicial trials, with the best distance counting toward your score. HopeIully you will get
the contract to build the vehicles Ior the city!

NOTE: Only use the materials given Ior this event or you may be disqualiIied! A replacement balloon is
available Irom the materials station iI needed (you must trade in your old balloon).

Index card (3) Rubber bands (3) Paper clips(3)
Balloon (1) Straws (2) Masking Tape - 12 inches

Scoring The team whose vehicle travels the Iurthest across the zip line with the ping pong in tact as a
passenger will receive 200 points, second Iurthest, 190, etc.


With all the catastrophes hitting Earth, you and your team decide to head to Mars and start a new liIe there. The goal oI
this event is to design, build, and launch a rocket that will travel the Iarthest distance. Teams will be given the Iollowing
materials to construct their rockets:

Paper (8.5 x 11¨, 3 sheets) Index cards (3) Masking tape (20¨)

The Iollowing equipment can also be used in construction:

Scissors Wooden Dowel

Teams will be given 15-20 minutes to design and build their rockets beIore launching.

Scoring Each team will get two oIIicial launches. The auditorium will be laid out with rows oI seats marked with 25,
50, 75 ... 175, 200 points. The best oI the two launches determines the team`s score Ior this event.


Ìn your new life on Mars, you will need to have well-practiced math and problem-solving skills. Estimation (of
distances, weight, sizes, etc.) will be important to helping you survive on a planet without measuring tools. You
will need to do mental arithmetic and/or use space-pencil-and-paper, since your calculator long ago ran out of
batteries, and there is no way to recharge or get new batteries on Mars.

This event is based on your ability to solve math problems. Each team will be given 20 problems to solve.
You do not have to go in order, but complete as many as you can!

A note about the Fermi Questions
This event is based on the ability of Enrico Fermi to estimate the answers to problems that required very large
or very small quantities, using estimation and reasoning. An example of a Fermi-style question is the following:

"How many ping-pong balls would be required to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool?¨

Solution: You can line approximately 30 ping-pong balls along one meter. Therefore 30/m*30/m*30/m means
you would have 27000/m3. An Olympic-size pool is 50m*30m*1m = 1500m3. The number of ping-pong balls
in the pool would then be 27000/m3 * 1500m3 = 4 x 107 ping-pong balls. To Fermi, the coefficient in front was
less important than the order of magnitude, or power of ten: 107. We will score these questions accordingly
(see below).

Each group will be given 20 challenges to solve: 10 Fermi Questions and 10 other mathematical puzzles.
CALCULATORS WÌLL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR THÌS ACTÌVÌTY. Physics books will be available for
reference. You will not be allowed to access the Ìnternet. Each question is worth 5 points. On the Fermi
questions, one point will be deducted from each answer for a power of ten above or below the accepted
answers, and no points will be received if more than one power of ten outside the accepted answers.

Scoring ÷ The highest score out of one hundred will be awarded 200 points in the STEM Competition, the next
highest will receive 195 points, etc.

Ferm| 0uest|ons

1. ll you Were lo slac| cars ol soup ore or lop ol arolrer, roW rary Wou|d |l la|e lo reacr lre roor (381,000|r aWay)?
2. loW rary gra|rs ol sard Wou|d l|l |rs|de a rorra|-s|zed c|assroor?
3. ll every persor |r lre Wor|d dr|r|s ar average ol 1 cups (32oz) ol Waler eacr day, roW rucr Waler |s drur| Wor|dW|de |r a
4. Neplure la|es 1ê1.Z9 Earlr years lo oro|l lre 3ur. loW rary Earlr r|rules |s lral?
5. loW rary secords are |r lr|rly years?
6. loW rary o|ades ol grass are lrere |r lre slale ol Vary|ard (12,10Z square r||es)?
7. ll |l la|es ê,280,000,000,000,000,000 e|eclrors lo l|oW |r ore secord lo produce ore arp ol currerl, roW rary e|eclrors are
reeded lo produce 15 arps ol currerl |r ore secord?
8. Tre 0u|rress wor|d Record ro|der (a ralr leacrer) lor cra|r|rg logelrer paper c||ps la|es ar average ol 1.ê secords lo
cra|r ore c||p lo arolrer. loW rary car re cra|r logelrer |r 21 rours Wor||rg al lral rale?
9. Esl|rale lre lola| ruroer ol ra|rs or your read.
10. ll a o||||or ce||s ra|e up eacr cuo|c cerl|reler ol your oody, roW rary ce||s |r lola| does ar average persor's oody corla|r?

ther Hathemat|ca| Puzz|ers

1. ll l|lleer peop|e are al a parly ard eacr persor sra|es rards W|lr eacr olrer persor, roW rary rardsra|es occur?
2. Add lre ruroers 1÷2÷3÷.÷2009÷2010÷2011
3. loW rary lrree-|eller 'Words' car you ra|e, us|rg lre slardard Erg||sr a|praoel? For exarp|e, |rc|ude 'qpv¨, ever lrougr
|l |s rol ar aclua| Word W|lr a rear|rg.
4. ll lre pr|ce ard lr|c|ress are lre sare, Wr|cr |s lre oeller ouy: a 12 |rcr rourd app|e p|e or ar 11 |rcr square app|e p|e?
5. F|rd lre va|ue ol , g|ver
6. ll you rave a oas|r lu|| ol dr|r||rg Waler, a 10oz g|ass ard a êoz g|ass, roW cou|d you produce exact|y ar 8oz serv|rg ol
7. Tre or|y ruroers lral d|v|de ever|y |rlo ê, olrer lrar ê |lse|l, are 1, 2, ard 3. ê |s ca||ed a 'perlecl ruroer¨ oecause lre sur
ol lrese ruroers (1÷2÷3) |s lre or|g|ra| ruroer (ê). F|rd ore rore perlecl ruroer oelWeer Z ard 50.
8. P|c| a ruroer, ary ruroer. Add 5. Vu|l|p|y lre arsWer l|res 1. Add 80. 0|v|de lre resu|l oy 2. 3uolracl oll lW|ce your or|g|ra|
ruroer. Ta|e lre resu|l ard ru|l|p|y oy 11. 3uolracl 39. wral do you gel?
9. 0rder lre lo||oW|rg lror sra||esl lo |argesl:
a. lre ruroer ol peop|e |r lre Wor|d
b. lre ruroer ol lrees |r lre Wor|d
c. lre ruroer ol represerlal|ves |r lre u.3. louse ol Represerlal|ves
d. lre ruroer ol alors |r a ro|e
e. lre ruroer ol Weos|les or lre lrlerrel
l. lre ruroer ol sluderls al Pallersor l|gr 3croo|
g. lre ruroer ol p|arels |r our so|ar sysler
1. use eacr ruroer lror 1 lo 9 exacl|y once, so lral eacr co|urr, roW, ard d|agora| ol lr|s rag|c square add up lo 15:


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