Four Virginia fifth- and sixth-graders won first place in the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards, the world’s largest science and technology competition for grades K to 12. The kids won top honors in their age category, beating out 4,345 other entries. Each student gets a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond.
The students won for their invention of the Heads Up! helmet, designed to reduce head injuries among soldiers. It features overlapping shells of high-tech plastic, temperature and air-pressure sensors and bullet-stopping gels. You can see the design at dev.nsta.org/evwebs/30n.
“When you work together you can come up with more productive ideas a lot faster and a lot easier, and it makes it more fun,” said Sydney Dayyani, 11.
The teammates know one another through their swim team. Sydney is in sixth grade at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg. Jovia Ho, 11, and Abby Porter, 10, are both fifth-graders at Tolbert Elementary School in Leesburg. Sixth-grader Jack Dudley is home-schooled and does his lessons through Virginia Virtual Academy of Herndon, which sponsored the team.
Jack had the idea after seeing a newspaper article in The Washington Post about a soldier with a severe brain injury. After doing a lot of research, the team wanted to “prevent head injuries in soldiers and athletes,” he said.
What followed was “a lot of research in books and magazines and on the Internet,” Abby said.
The kids hope their helmet will be manufactured someday. “Military helmets needed to be improved because bullets are made stronger now, and bombs are stronger,” Jovia said.
Tops in stacking
For his big win, William Polly spent a lot of time alone. The Arlington 10-year-old got interested in cup stacking 11
2 years ago and now practices up to three hours a day.
“It’s my favorite thing ever to do,” said William, who also enjoys soccer, skateboarding and science.
All that hard work took the K.W. Barrett Elementary School student to Texas for last month’s World Sports Stacking Championship, where he set a world record in the 3-3-3 stacking event. That’s when you arrange three stacks of three plastic cups into three pyramids, then nest them back into three separate stacks again. William did all this in 1.68 seconds. You can watch his impressive performance at www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMA2DXAvECo
Tops in ’bots
A few months ago we told you about NX-Treme, an Ashburn robotics team that won first place in the area’s First Lego League competition. At the world competition earlier this month, the team’s robot won the first place mechanical design award.
NX-Treme will show off its robot and talk about robotics at 6 p.m. Thursday at Eagle Ridge Middle School in Ashburn.
— Margaret Webb Pressler