KINGSTON — The dog-drying chamber piqued some interest, but the real question on everybody’s mind: How much money can you put into a boat — literally?
The Luzerne Intermediate Unit hosted the regional portion of the Governor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Competition here Monday, with teams from six area high schools presenting innovative ideas with prototypes.
Each team got a brief opportunity to describe and demonstrate its gizmo, and to answer any questions.
Teams also participated in a challenge to see how many pennies a makeshift boat could handle. (More on that later.)
The teens’ creations often sprang from real-life experiences.
For example, Hazleton Area Career Center senior Katherine Landron said the “Auto Medic” her team devised was inspired partly by her own daily calcium pill. The machine is intended to tell a person what pill she should take, dispense the pill, and wait until the person pushes a button signaling the med has been ingested.
Meyers High School sophomore Kaede Goodeliunas conceded her family’s two big dogs — a husky/shepherd and a rottweiler/pit bull/boxer mix motivated the design for the Doggy Dry.
“My mom would love this,” she said while showing off the prototype. Her invention was a modified pet taxi with a fan filling a hole cut into one side, complete with a thick, absorbent mat sure to clean paws thoroughly enough to prevent paw prints “all over the hardwood floors.”
The ultimate Doggy Dry would have a treadmill to keep the pup moving while multiple air streams blow-dry the fur, she added. The dog would walk in one door and out another, earning an automatically dispensed treat on the way out. “My dogs would fight over who gets in first,” Goodeliunas predicted.
The event ended with an exercise called “project in a box.” Each team got four wooden pencils, a sheet of paperboard, a 12-inch square piece of aluminum foil, two small paper cups and 12 inches of duct tape. The goal: Build a small boat that will hold the most pennies without taking on water or sinking.
Designs ranged from taping the two cups together, wrapping them in foil and punching a hole in one cup to a square, flat-bottomed scow built around the pencils and the two cups resting on top. The former dipped under the surface at penny 30, while the latter managed to take on 175 cents.
Tunkhannock won the overall event, thanks to a simple digital-alert system designed to let police, firefighters or construction crews send a localized warning about slowed or stopped traffic with the push of a screen button. The signal would go to vehicles equipped with the right bluetooth-enabled device.