PLTW engineering challenge


Project Lead the Way (PLTW) students stand with their first place award.

The weekend of February 4-5, a group of OHS PLTW engineering students a part of the Principles of Engineering and Design class, had the opportunity to attend St.Louis Community college engineering challenge, and did a great job. The students were able to pull first place in the challenge, and wow the judges with their expertise and group effort.

The group of OHS students consisted of: JP Latreille (11), Mallory Hunt (12), Kate Hoynacki (12), Alexis Twillmann (11) and Danielle Flieg (11).

They were up against 21 other engineering teams from the St.Louis area, and entered the challenge blind to what exactly they would have to do.

“The students went to the competition knowing only the name of the competition which was ‘Array of Sunshine’. They did not learn what the challenge was until they entered the competition itself, and they were not allowed the use of electronics except a calculator,” explained engineering teacher James Kreyling.

The students and Dr.Kreyling were separated to allow the students to showcase what they have learned without the help of their teacher. They students were judged on many different aspects of the structure they created.

“Each team was given a certain amount of “PLTW Bucks” to “purchase” supplies for prototyping and final construction. They were judged on the quality of their engineering notebooks, their teamwork in solving the problem, the efficiency of the design, the rigidity of the design, the weight of product vs surface area of “solar panels”, and the cost of the design vs surface area of panels,” Kreyling explains.

Being that it was the first year that they ever competed in the competition is was something new for Kreyling and the students.

“We were not allowed to speak with our teachers during the 5 or so hours that we were given so we had to be completely self sufficient and use only our prior knowledge to perform the task. In addition, we had a limited time frame which means we had to work efficiently and stay on task. I learned how to work with a team and apply my knowledge to real life,” explained Alexis Twillmann (11).

It was a proud moment for the students that were able to clearly show their knowledge, and for Mr. Kreyling to be able to sit back and see how well his students to do without his presence.

“For me it was the equivalent to a coach taking a team to districts, but not being able to watch the game or even know how his team was doing. I truly had to put my faith in my students and the things they learned in class as well as their ability to work together to solve the problem,” Kreyling said.