The Diamond Bananas, also known as Ethan Williams, left, Bengimin Ambrosian, Nickolas Ambrosian and Robert Minden of Seward Middle School, prepare their catapult for the Mind A-Mazes challenge at Soldotna Prep School in Soldotna, Alaska on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Their device had to shoot a rubber ball into a wastebasket from different distances. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

The Diamond Bananas, also known as Ethan Williams, left, Bengimin Ambrosian, Nickolas Ambrosian and Robert Minden of Seward Middle School, prepare their catapult for the Mind A-Mazes challenge at Soldotna Prep School in Soldotna, Alaska on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Their device had to shoot a rubber ball into a wastebasket from different distances. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Crazy catapults at Mind A-Mazes

  • By KAT SORENSEN
  • Sunday, October 15, 2017 8:38pm
  • News

The rules were not simple, in fact there is a whole blog dedicated to the rules for the Mind A-Mazes problem solving competition on Saturday at Soldotna Prep School.

Fifty-one teams from across the peninsula worked for weeks to create “Crazy Catapults,” which required the teams to create a device that would catapult a ball into the target area, a school wastepaper basket.

The yearly challenged is created and held by Quest, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s talented and gifted program and engages students by presenting them with a hands on engineering problem.

The competition tested student’s problem solving skills by asking groups of three to four students to design, construct, calibrate and set off the device with the goal of shooting a hollow, rubber ball into a wastebasket at varying distances. Teams couldn’t spend more than $15 on their devices and the entire device had to fit within the confines of one cubic meter.

“We want to give a big thank you to all the parents, teachers and coaches who helped with everything going in to today,” said Brian Bailey, a Quest teacher at Nikiski Middle-High School who helped organize the event.

Students spent weeks honing their devices and on competition day they travelled to Soldotna Prep to put their creations to the test.

“We have 51 teams registered from around the peninsula,” said Brian Bailey, who helped organize the event. “We have three teams from Hope that managed to get thorugh an accident at Summit Lake and even two teams from Susan B. English in Seldovia.”

The teams from Hope were smart to wait through the traffic, since the Hope School brought home the big prize.

Liam Bureau and his team from Hope School catapulted the competition, sinking baskets as far as 11 feet while the packed gym cheered.

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com

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