physics and math students
talented TEAMS team
In the annual high school Test of Engineering Aptitude, Math, and Science
(TEAMS), which asks teams of eight students to calculate the environmental
impact of hybrid-electric cars, evaluate the orbital radius of a global
positioning system satellite and design a facility to produce a certain
amount of cheese from raw milk, Yellow Springs High School is competitive
with schools seven and eight times its size.
At this years regional competition, held on Feb. 27, at Cedarville
University, YSHS Team A scored 54 out of 100 possible points, winning
its seven-teams division of schools with 100 graduating seniors or less.
The team, which includes Drew Breckner, Andy Chen, James Hyde, Sam Klontz,
Mike Mucher, Eli Visbal, Aaron Zagory and Matt Zaremsky, scored fourth
out of all the schools in the region.
The students have confidence in their abilities and in one another. They
attribute their success to mainly two factors.
Its a combination of having a strong math and science department
at the high school and having a good group of kids in my class and in
the class below us, said Visbal, who has participated in TEAMS for
Northmont High School and St. Charles Preparatory scored the highest with
59 points, and Beavercreek High School came in third with 56 points. Northmont
and Beavercreek each has a student body of around 2,000, and St. Charles
has 523 students, while YSHS has 240 students.
YSHS Team B, which included Dylan Borchers, Tina Dallas, Elizabeth Dixon,
Monica Erickson, Cooper Fleishman, Scott Keyes, Alex Melecki and Amy Price,
came in fourth place in the small school division with 32 points.
A sample problem from the 90-minute multiple choice test three years ago
involved predicting the performance of a hot air balloon. The teams were
asked, for example, to calculate the temperature that would be needed
inside a balloon with a volume of 2,500 cubic meters and a cargo mass
of 400 kilograms to raise the balloon 100 meters in one minute.
The second part of the test, an additional 90 minutes, involves more theoretical
problems that require more creative answers. Team members say they like
the collaborative nature of this part of the day.
It was fun cooperating on the different problems because most of
them were pretty hard and it would be hard to do with just one person,
first-time participant Melecki said.
The teams advisor and YSHS physics teacher Phil Lemkau said that
sometimes he has difficulty with the complexity of the problems. To find
the answer to one of the questions, he once called a professional engineer,
who said he would have to think about it for a while.
He never got back to me, Lemkau said. These are first-class
practical applications of engineering and physics. Its very sophisticated
stuff, and were good at it.
The students dont practice because they are too busy with other
activities, though they show consistent ability to compete with the best
students from around the area and beyond. Last year YSHS won third place
in the national competition for its division.
The YSHS team wont find out its national standing until mid-April.
The national rankings are based on a second 90-minute test of open-ended
questions, which the students also took on Feb. 27.