Students from across Shelby County participate in E3 Goes Jurassic

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – Students from across Shelby County recently engaged in various activities during the E3 Goes Jurassic competition.

The competition was held on March 8 and March 9 at the Shelby County Instructional Services building in Alabaster. Engaging Elementary Engineers, E3, was hosted by the Shelby County Schools gifted department and AMSTI specialists form the Montevallo Regional Inservice Center.

A total of 34 schools were represented by approximately 500 students across two days as students competed in Jurassic-themed activities.

During the program, students apply their understanding of STEM concepts to solve and design construction challenges. Teams of students work together without teachers, parents or spectators to show their ingenuity in the creation and testing of projects. Students received authentic feedback from practicing engineers from Honda and Alabama Power.

“Even though we were some of the youngest students there, we still did our best and did a good job,” a Creek View Elementary School student said.

Each day of the event began with the “Don’t Stomp my Egg” competition in which teams construct a container to protect an egg from the crushing weight of a 10-pound dinosaur stomp.

“The egg stomp really scared me because the ball dented our contraption, but the egg survived and it didn’t crack,” a CVES student said.

Other activities during the event included, “Race away from Rexy,” in which students designed a vehicle. “Dino Dig” had students engineer an apparatus and “Dash Through Dinoland” had students engage in construction and coding.

“Each event requires students to collaborate and work through the engineering design process,” Brown said. “Teams are presented with a challenge and respond to the challenge by imagining possible solutions,  drawing a design, using office and craft supplies to construct a prototype and then testing and refining the prototype to compete in a challenge.”

Brown said that E3 strives to challenge students in science, technology, engineering, art and math, also known as STEAM.

Meadow View Elementary Gifted Teacher Michelle Coxwell shared what she believes is one of the greatest stories from the event.

“One of our third graders had shut down and was not contributing to his group because they weren’t choosing to use his idea for the build,” she said. “This kid has brilliant ideas, so I hated to see him with his arms crossed and not engaged. I convinced him to go back and try to find a way to mix his idea with the rest of the group and to give his group another chance after rejecting his idea.”

The student, named Charlie, went back and slowly began working again, Coxwell said.

“By the end of the competition he was all smiles and learning to work with his group,” Coxwell said. “While judges were tallying up scores, they asked the students to write a thank you note to whomever they chose that had something to do with the E3 competition. Well, Charlie wrote me a thank you note that almost made me cry. He wrote, ‘Thank you for showing me the power within.’”

Morgan Quisenberry, a gifted resource teacher for Creek View Elementary, shared her thoughts on the event.

“This field trip was truly a unique experience that I hope students will always remember,” Quisenberry said. “The level of engagement was sky high throughout the day. Students worked together to plan, design, test and improve their creative solutions. Even when things did not go as planned, and parts of their designs failed, they persevered.  I am very proud of their teamwork and effort, and I am certain that each student walked away from this experience stronger, kinder, and more confident.”

The following schools and teams placed during the two-day competition:

“Race Away from Rexy

  • First place – Oak Mountain Intermediate – Big Brain Smarties
  • Second place – Hall Kent Elementary – Stealthy Stegasaurus
  • Third place – Oak Mountain Intermediate – M.A.D Scientists
  • Mascot – Helena Intermediate – Dinosaur Dawgs (4)

“Dino Dig”

  • First place – Chelsea Park Elementary – T Rex Tillers
  • Second place – Hall Kent Elementary – Innovative Iguanadon (9)
  • Third place – Hall Kent Elementary – Megalasaurus Master Minds
  • Mascot – Chelsea Park Elementary – Jurassic Dredgers (8)

“Dashing through DinoLand”

  • First place – Pinecrest Elementary – Dino Invaders
  • Second place – Oak Mountain Intermediate – Crafty Coders
  • Third place – Helena Intermediate – Helena Stomping Rexes
  • Mascot – Thompson Intermediate – Royal Rexes (8)

“Dino Stomp” Egg Drop

  • First place – West Blocton Elementary – 19 grams

“Race Away from Rexy” 2

  • First place – Pelham Ridge – Mesozoic and Mighty
  • Second place – Vestavia Hills East – Excellent Escape Artist
  • Third place – Dolly Ridge – Persevering Terasaurus
  • Mascot – Vestavia Hills East and Pelham Ridge – The Flying East

“Dino Dig” 2

  • First place – Vestavia Hills East – Teffeffic Teranadons
  • Second place – Liberty Park – Not Fast Just Furious
  • Third place- Oak Mountain Elementary – Raptors
  • Mascot – Pelham Ridge – Velcoi-Build-ors

“Dashing Through DinoLand” 2

  • First place – Liberty Park – Masters of the Digiverse
  • Second place – A.H. Watwood Elementary – The Bustin Down Dinosaurs
  • Third place – Pelham Ridge – The Decoding Dinos
  • Mascot – Shelby Elementary – The Techasaurs

“Dino Stomp” Egg Drop 2

  • First place – A.H. Watwood Elementary – 13 grams