Members from the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement club competed in the STEM on the Sidelines competition at Dignity Health Sports Park on Dec. 8. The competition consisted of a total of 34 teams, comprised of more than 150 students from 26 different high schools.
The objective was to build a mini football launcher that was powered by a Raspberry Pi microcontroller. The winner was determined by which team had the furthest distance with the most accuracy. Team Pleffermint members, including sophomores Sophia Quach, James San, Sokserey Sun, My Nguyen, William Chung, and Andy Duong were accompanied by math teacher Stanley Li.
“Students were required to build a circuit using motors and other 3D printed, laser cut, or fabricated components to build their device,” Marvin Maldonado, director of STEM education at the University of California Irvine, said. “They also had to do a little bit of coding.”
Team Pleffermint’s launcher was able to launch the football around 20-25 feet. They won first place in the Los Angeles County and second place overall. The entire team was awestruck once their team was called to the stage to receive their certificates.
“No one in our group stood up when our names were called for a solid 10 seconds,” San said. “We were extremely shocked because our project wasn’t the best looking and the process of building it was neglected.
The team had been working on the project for two months, but their schedules did not line up. It got to the point where there was only one week left, leaving them to submit a video of their nonfunctional launcher.
“After we submitted the video of our broken project, we decided to rebuild it, so I went to Mr. Mason’s to quickly cut out the wood,” San said. “We went to Sophia’s house and stayed there for seven hours for two to three days to complete it.”
Pleffermint members were invited to attend the Chargers home game on Dec. 15, where they will be recognized and given field access.