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HCHS Engineering students projects to compete at Murray State University

Seen here are 2 of Ms. Banta’s Engineering students at HCHS constructing one of the kayaks they will be taking to the Annual E-Day Competition at MSU on Thursday. There are 12 students working on the 3 kayas they’re taking to the competition. Those will be raced and manned by the students, and the kayak that does best, they’ll be taking to the state competition in Louisville on March 18th.

Hancock County High School Engineering Teacher Lisa Banta and her students are traveling to Murray State University this week to compete in the Annual E-Day Competition. Her students have been busy crafting 3 kayaks that they will be racing, as well as CO2 cars, and also electric guitars!

“The Technology Student Association is the club that I sponsor here,” Banta said, “and we compete in regional and state events. The projects that we’re working on right now, I’m excited about all of them. We’re in the process of making 3 kayaks out of PVC pipe and they have to race them. We have 12 kids working on the project. They haven’t all decided who is going to man the ships. We’ll try them out first at Vastwood, hopefully.”

Since school is out on Monday for President’s Day, it would have to be Tuesday or Wednesday if they practice at Vastwood before the first race, she said. They’ll be leaving for the competition on Thursday, February 22nd. The kayak that does best, they’ll be taking to the state competition in Louisville on March 18th.

“We’ve got to get the shrink wrap on here today and tomorrow so we have a lot of work to do,” Banta said last week. “We have marine grade shrink wrap, shrink tape and a heat gun; We’re getting there. We’re hoping to have 3 kayaks. They have a lot of work to do. Hopefully, by the end of the day Tuesday we’ll have them ready and can test them in the water, and then we can come back and work on them some more.

I think we have 16 students going and they compete in other events. We have this and the CO2 cars and we’ll race those. There is a division for additive manufacturing, which is the 3D printing, and there’s a division for the wooden ones. We’ll be racing in both. The electric guitars, we’ve got 3 or 4 of those that students are working on as well.

They also build a survival shelter, and we’ll do that there. They give them a wooden pallet and the prompt is that there’s been an earthquake and you’ve got to build an emergency shelter. They have some tarp, a pallet and a hammer and they’ve got to build it. We have 2 teams, and we have practiced it here first.

Then, there’s another prompt that they’ll just give them there and I don’t know what that one is. So some kids will just go into a room and they’ll say, ‘Here’s your task, do it.’ The event at Murray State Thursday is for one day, and they’ll be judged that day. When they compete at the state competition on March 18th, it will be a 3-day event. It’s a lot of fun.”

Banta said she loves teaching engineering. “We do a lot of math that connects what we’re doing,” she said. “What these kids are doing is they’re calculating surface area and volume of solids. Because this is a 3D printing class, they’re going to create things in Inventor and then confirm the volume and surface area that they create in Inventor before they send them to the 3D printer. So we’re just doing some of the math that connects what they do with their Auto Cad Inventor and with the 3D printing that they will do as the culminating event.”

These students are building their designs with tape in the hallway near Banta’s engineering classroom before the construction process begins.

HCHS Junior Shane Wedding, a student in Banta’s Special Topics CTE (Career & Technical Education/Engineering) Class said he wants to study to become a physical therapist after high school. “I’m taking some classes right now to prepare to do physical therapy,” he said. “I’m looking at Western, UK or Murray to get my DPT (Doctorate of Physical Therapy).” Wedding lives in Lewisport and is the son of Stephanie Brooks.

HCHS Junior Isabelle Henderson (16) said she loves Banta’s engineering class. “Last year was my first year in engineering,” she said. “I ended up really liking it. This year, we’re making a guitar, a kayak and CO2 cars. Later, for the state competition, I’m making a drone with another student.”

Isabelle says she’s very excited about the competition but a little nervous. “Last year’s competition was lots of fun and a really good educational experience. It was our first year last year,” she said, “so we didn’t do as great as we wanted to but we’re hoping with the experience we’ll do a lot better this year.” Isabelle is the daughter of Brian and Stacy Henderson.

HCHS Junior Daymond Williamson (17) said, “When we get to Murray, we’ll be doing an engineering challenge where they’ll just give us a problem, and then materials to try to build something to solve the problem. In last year’s competition, our guitar got pretty close to winning. It got 4th place. So this year we’re really just trying to hammer out the issues from last year and sort of get it the best that it can be.” Daymond is the son of Jeremy and Jennifer Williamson. He said he plans to become an astrobiologist and, hopefully, work for NASA.

“The most important thing math-wise for engineering is probably geometry,” Daymond added. “Geometry is, I think, the easiest math to do.”

HCHS Engineering/Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher Lisa Banta and a student finishing construction on one of the electric guitars they’ll be taking to the E-Day Competition at Murray State University on Thursday, February 22nd.

Isabelle agreed, saying that geometry comes really naturally to her as well. “I’m hoping to become a medical engineer,” she said.

Their teacher, HCHS Engineering (CTE) Teacher Lisa Banta, is in her 29th year of teaching. This is her second year of teaching engineering, and her second year of teaching at HCHS. In her previous years, she has taught math. She earned her Math and Political Science Degree at Campbellsville University, and is the daughter of the late Harold Wayne Newton.

Banta teaches 4 classes, Engineering I, Engineering II, 3D Printing and a Special Topics class that meets at the same time as her 3D Printing class. “We’re on a block schedule so we change classes at Christmas,” she said. “I have probably about 60 to 70 kids each semester.”

She said students wanting to take her classes aren’t required to have a ton of math classes under their belts first because she teaches them the math they need. “The math department does a great job of preparing them too,” she said, “but I just try to reinforce and connect what they’re doing in those classes with the engineering activities that we’re doing. I have great kids, and I love doing it.”

By Jennifer Wimmer

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