Science teacher Richard Walbridge said Bristow, joined by Adams Middle School, is one of the only schools in the country to host science competitions that include penny planes, which are balsawood planes powered by a wound rubber band and weigh no more than a penny.
During a series of three time trials, 18 students cast their planes into the air of the Bristow gymnasium, but only Bristow student Uriel Erostico’s penny plane flew for more than three minutes.
While the penny plane trials took place, Walbridge assisted with the bridge-breaking competition in which weights were added to bridges made of balsawood. Weight was added until the bridge broke, or Walbridge ran out of 500-gram weights. Bristow students Nathan Sorenson and Alexis Gomez tied for first place when their bridges refused to break, bearing the weight of 8,500 grams.
“I had no idea my bridge could win,” Alexis said. “It looked like a fun and easy project, so I just started drawing it out on graph paper and then I built it in two days. I didn’t think I had a chance of winning. This is exciting.”
Drew Davidson, with the help of dad Jeff, built a helicopter that took home first place. It flew for only a few seconds, but was the only helicopter in the competition to fly at all. “It was fun to make, but a lot of hard work goes into it,” Drew said. “You have to sand the propellers to make sure they aren’t too thick or too thin. It’s a lot of work to find the balance.”
Drew also took home third place for the CO2 Cars, tiny derby cars propelled by a carbon dioxide cartridge. The cars zipped along the stage at the front of the gym throughout the evening. The competition was supervised by Adams Middle School teacher Patrick Rockenbaugh, but the winners were from Bristow. Austin Hinds and Austin Loren won the novice CO2 and Pro CO2 competitions, respectively.
In the Rugby Runner competition, remote-controlled cars with homemade attachments went head to head to see whose car could retrieve a volleyball at the center of the gym and then move it to the other side of the gym without being knocked off course by the other cars.
Zach Sorenson, brother of Nathan, won with his design that included a claw made of coathangers. The combination of plastic and wire hangers allowed his hot rod to overtake the competitors, who armed their cars with cardboard and plastic buckets. Zack, who also participated in the penny plane competition, said the rugby runner was the most fun because he got to play with the remote-control car.
The final competition, the AMA Cub planes flight, was won by Charlie Glennon, the only one to compete. Glennon also took second place in the rugby runner competition.
The top three winners in each competition received a medal at the end of the evening.