WV Press Release Sharing
(Editor’s note: This release has been updated since its initial publication to correct the second and third place finishers.)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Plummeting pumpkins paved the way for future engineers at the 34th Pumpkin Drop event hosted by the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
The University welcomed more than 1,000 students from 50 K-12 schools across the region on Friday (Oct. 27) to test their engineering skills on the Evansdale Campus. Of the 243 pumpkins launched from the roof of the Engineering Sciences Building, only 47 survived the 11-story drop.
The event, sponsored by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the WVU chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, included 243 teams from West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
“My favorite thing about the event is the excitement of the students and seeing how enthusiastic they are about their designs and seeing the ideas they come up with, using their knowledge and their science and math to do good design work,” said Scott Wayne, associate professor and faculty advisor for the ASME student chapter. “It gets them here on campus and allows them the opportunity to see the student design projects in college that are around. It’s a fun activity that makes them think, execute a plan and build their design and utilize those hands-on components.”
Students used a range of materials to guard their gourds, including parachutes, pillows, pool floats and packing materials. Teams built enclosures that employed engineering and physics principles like gravity, impulse and momentum.
Team 13 from Mountaineer Middle School won first place and the $100 prize, landing their pumpkin one foot, two inches from the target. Team 80 from Berkeley Springs High School came in second with a final distance of one foot, eight inches, earning $50 in prize money. Third place and $25 was awarded to Team 177 from Yough Intermediate Middle School, which landed their pumpkin one foot, 11 inches from the target.
“I love seeing the kids getting so excited to be in competition and learning about engineering and putting their problem solving and critical thinking skills into it,” Amina Irfan, WVU ASME student chapter president, said. “It’s so fascinating to see little kids having such good brains. I think it’s definitely exciting for kids when they come here to have a little competition, get to see and learn about engineering and see other engineers. I think it helps bring kids in and want to come to the STEM majors.”
Event proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Morgantown.