Blowing Rock’s GOATs defy odds, capture 3D printer competition in Hickory

Blowing Rock’s GOATs defy odds, capture 3D printer competition in Hickory
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By David Rogers. March 29, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — When it comes to “sudden death” overtimes, most people think about basketball or football games rather than a science and engineering competition, but Blowing Rock’s middle school GOATs, a 3-D printer team, walked away with top honors in March after defeating the team from Alexander Central High School after not one, but TWO “sudden death” periods — in the 2018 Direct Digital Manufacturing Competition staged in Hickory. (See the winning shot in the video below)

COVER IMAGE: Team GOATs included, from left to right, Sam Brandon, Autumn Taylor, Janie Soucek, Alex Barr, and Gillian MCallister. Not pictured contributors included Darmody Tausche, Kate Sears, and Abby Barr.

All photographic images courtesy of Robert Smith, Blowing Rock School

This is only the second year that the GOATs (acronym for “Greatest Of All Time”) have entered the competition, which was started by the North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies in 2016 to encourage students to engage learning opportunities in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related fields with a special focus on 3-D printing and additive manufacturing. The Hickory-based competition is open to teams from middle schools and high schools in western North Carolina. The teams design, develop, and build a project to later be tested and judged on a set of pre-determined criteria.

The 2018 competition, sponsored by BULLWHEEL, LLC, challenged the student teams to design, develop and produce a working catapult from a 3-D printer that could launch balls toward a target with precision and consistency.  A total of 13 schools competed, representing Alexander County, Burke County, Caldwell County, Hickory City, and Watauga County school districts.

“It is always a pleasure to see these students and the caliber of work they produce,” noted Paul Gantt, CTE-Engineering Instructor, Patton High School. “These projects allow students to fully immerse themselves into a design process that not only celebrates successes but sees the value in lessons learned from failures. I think this skill set is one that will reward the students involved and the local economy in the years to come.”

For winning not just the middle school division but also the “overall” competition, the GOATs won a new 3-D printer for the school.  Alexander Central won the high school division and Liberty Middle School (Morganton, NC) was runner-up in the middle school division. Both received $500 cash prizes for their respective schools.

The following video of the competition was provided to Blowing Rock News by Robert Smith, Digital Learning Coach at Blowing Rock School

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