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Wednesday March 25, 2015 12:33 PM
|The Chip Challenge|
How would you mail a single potato chip?
Westerville sixth-graders grappled with this salty question during their advanced science classes in the fifth annual districtwide Chip Challenge.
Student teams designed compact, lightweight containers that could safely ship a single Pringles potato chip to Superintendent John Kellogg at the district’s Early Learning Center, 936 Eastwind Drive.
At the Early Learning Center, the potato chips were inspected to ensure they arrived undamaged and packages were evaluated and scored based on their volume and mass — the smaller and lighter the better.
The first-place winners of the challenge were Max Chambers, Reis Schrienk, and Jack Trimble from Blendon Middle School.
Heritage Middle School sixth-grade science teacher, Mary Milchen’s students came in second place.
Milchen said that her students’ favorite part was designing the containers and trying to make sure the chip wouldn’t get damaged.
“My students really enjoyed the Chip Challenge because they were able to talk with groups to solve a problem,” she said in an email. “They really liked the opportunity to test their chip and make changes to their design to ensure the chip would be kept intact.”
She said that one of her teams faced the challenge of working only with duct tape.
While having limited resources and materials was challenging, the students were thrilled to learn their chip stayed intact when tested.
The students were not able to use anything that had already been produced or designed. The shipping and packing material had to be provided by the students.
“The materials ranged from bubble wrap to cotton balls and plastic containers. They had to manipulate the items they brought in to create a new design,” Milchen said.
The project was much more than just about eating the broken potato chips.
Students learned how to find the volume of their irregular shaped packages.
“They worked very hard to use the knowledge they did have about volume to find a close estimate,” Milchen said.
The Chip Challenge is a STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — initiative.