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Jackson Co. students use engineering skills in competition

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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

Soda cans and clothes hangers could influence some Jackson County students to become engineers. Those everyday household items were used in an engineering competition at Ingalls Shipbuilding Friday. The games forced students to use math, physics and a lot of patience.

After a few test runs, the competition began. The games were modeled after the television game show "Minute to Win It."

"If you finish it in one minute, then you get 100 points," an instructor told the teams.

More than 50 students from Gautier Middle School, Vancleave Middle School and Magnolia Middle School had to use their engineering skills and teamwork to complete five challenging tasks.

"It's fun, hard," said Magnolia Middle School eighth grader Micah Williams.

"It looks a lot easier on TV," commented Gautier Middle School eighth grader Jaden Woods.

The Shipbuilder Women Engineers at Ingalls hosted the event in hopes of inspiring the next generation of engineers.

"Sometimes they really don't realize they're using engineering in everything that they do. So we give them that different perspective in engineering," said Competition Chairperson April Martin.

"These games enable them to use what they've learn in the classroom, whether it be physics, math or even science."

In the Candelier competition, the teams had to stack empty soda cans to create a five-story structure. Over at the Hangover table, they had to balance five coat hangers on a handle, and they learned how tough it can be to build a house of cards.

The friendly competition gave the students a chance to see engineering in a different light.

"We had to use a lot of math. So I got better at some stuff and I'm more open to try new things now," said Vancleave Middle School eighth grader Ashton Driebergen.

"I thought about being an engineer a couple of years back. Then I was like, no, but this is bringing the influence back," said Micah.

Gautier Middle School won the overall competition. For the third year in a row, Magnolia Middle School captured the top prize in the can engineering contest. The team built a Batman-themed sculpture from food cans.

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