Students work as optical engineers in latest design challenge

Posted: March 29, 2019

Newport News elementary students learned how to direct a laser beam through a maze to a specific target during the latest engineering challenge held on March 28.

The challenge gave fourth and fifth-grade students the opportunity to learn more about light reflection. Using furnished materials, teams of students representing each elementary school were given the task of designing and building a maze with three obstacles that could direct a laser beam to a target using only reflection. The design challenge, Maze Craze, was sponsored by Jefferson Lab, a world-leading nuclear physics research facility. Students were given a specified amount of time to brainstorm with their teammates, draft their designs, and build and test their mazes before presenting it to the judges.

Student teams earned points based on design, materials used and beam accuracy. The team from Yates Elementary School earned first place; Greenwood, Hilton, Riverside and Sedgefield elementary schools tied for second place and Jenkins Elementary School's team earned third place in the Maze Craze challenge.

The Design Challenge is part of the school district's ongoing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math education) initiative. #NNPSProud

Slideshow: Maze Craze Design Challenge

  • The team from Yates Elementary won the Maze Craze Engineering Design Challenge.
  • Greenwood's team tied for second place in the challenge.
  • Hilton Elementary's team tied for second place in the challenge.
  • The 4th and 5th grade team from Riverside tied for second place in the design challenge.
  • The design from Sedgefield Elementary School earned their team a joint second place finish.
  • Jenkins Elementary School placed third in the design challenge.
  • Students work to construct a maze towards a target during the engineering design challenge.