Twists and turns

Published 11:00 pm Monday, February 27, 2012

Corey Scott, 17, Hannah Powell, 15, Gavin Shackelford, 17 and TaMyia Williams, 16, work together to create a roller coaster design for the Pike County High School team during one of Kim Sellers’ engineering classes at Troy-Pike Center for Technology. (Photo/Robbyn Brooks)

Vo-tech students create roller coasters to study engineering

Students in Kim Sellers’ third block class were putting the finishing touches on roller coaster designs Friday afternoon.

“The overall goal,” Sellers said, “is for the roller coaster to be as loopy, but as safe, as possible.”

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About 40 students in Sellers’ classes at the Troy-Pike Center for Technology participated in the team design project as part of National Engineers Week. The week is set aside to celebrate the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach across the country.

Last week, Sellers’ students heard speakers from Sikorsky and participated in a week-long project to engineer their own roller coaster.

“It’s harder than I expected because you have to do it a certain way to make the marble stay in the roller coaster,” said Pike County High School freshman Hannah Powell, 15.

The students used pipe insulation, toothpicks and masking tape to fashion their mini coasters in the classroom. Then, they dropped a silver marble from the top of the coaster.

“The marble has to stay inside all the way to the end,” said TaMyia Williams, 16, who also attends PCHS. “That’s the safety portion of the challenge.”

Corey Scott, 17, from PCHS said he enjoys the classes at the Center for Technology.

“You get to make a lot of things and it tests your creativity and your knowledge,” Scott said.

The engineering classes that Sellers teaches are open to high school students in the county who have completed Algebra I and show an interest in science and math.

“We’ve had fun this week,” Sellers said. “I’m proud of all of them and their hard work.”

To see a photo gallery of students working on their roller coasters, click here.