Last Tech Challenge Meeting, plus the competition!

Chance had his very last meeting before the big competition on Saturday. They practiced putting the waterwheel into position and getting it to work over and over again, with better results than the first practice meeting on the 26th. Their coach had the brilliant idea of feeding them barbequed chicken and I made some pasta salad to go along with it, and it worked, pre-teen and teenage boys do perk up noticeably after some dinner! Funnily enough, Luke does the same thing; when he’s acting particularly cranky, feed him some chocolate soy milk (we’ve discovered that making home made with a can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup makes better chocolate soy milk than buying it, and now he’s addicted) and Teddy Grahams, and he cheers right up. Chance and his teammate C also worked all week on finishing up the notebook, which documented all of the work done by the team, including showing the progress in pictures with captions, a timeline, a summary of the issues encountered and the solutions, and detailed notes for every meeting.

The actual competition was yesterday, Saturday, May 3rd, and it was a long event for everyone. Daddy, Jack, Chance and I headed down to San Jose about 11:30 am, and got to the museum at about 12:15, where we met up with the rest of the team. After some initial preparations (putting their logos on their hard hats, double checking the supplies), we parents headed off to the auditorium while the boys had to wait to meet with their judge (who had a series of questions and looked at their notebook) before waiting even longer to actually put their device to the test. In the meantime, John, Jack and I were sitting on the floor in front of the 6 test rigs where team after team kept putting their devices into the water and trying to get some water into the collection bucket. The number of teams had to be in the hundreds, and some of the contraptions were just amazingly large and complicated while others were smaller and and more elegant. We waited almost 2 hours for our team, and then I almost had to hold my breath waiting to see if our boys were going to collect some water, and they did, even with the potentially catastrophic happening of a crucial joint coming apart and getting wet! Yay for the Engineers de la Cascada!! Of course, after that climatic event, we waited around for the award ceremony (we went off to move the car and catch a quick bite to eat), and while our team didn’t win any prizes, I know that the other parents agree with me that this was a very worthwhile experience, on many levels, for all of the boys. Now to get Chance motivated to do the challenge again next year.

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