Diamond Bar: Chaparral Students “Keep It Moving”

By Kelli Gile



6th Grade students Karissa Wong and Joshua Chou won the Most Creative Design award at the JPL Keep It Moving contest on December 5. The students presented a school certificate to Principal Ron Thibodeaux. (photo courtesy: Kelli Gile)

Diamond Bar – Congratulations to Chaparral Middle School 6th Grade students, Karissa Wong and Joshua Chou, who won top awards in the recent “Keep It Moving” Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) Design Competition.

The team brought home a 4th Place award at the regional contest on November 22 and advanced to the Finals held on December 5 at the Pasadena Center.

The Chaparral students competed among 20 teams at the Finals. Most were at the high school level, but that didn’t stop these determined middle school students.

Wong and Chou won 3rd Place and the Most Creative Design awards.

The objective of the Keep It Moving challenge was to invent a device to move a billiard ball between five to eight meters using three modes of transportation:  gravity; any sort of spring; and a free choice of energy, such as a motor.

The students designed an upside-down rubber band catapult to push the ball up to the top of a 20-foot long rain gutter ramp. The ball had to be kept moving (spinning didn’t count) the entire time during the contest.

The billiard ball rolled down the ramp by gravity until it was blocked by a servomotor arm, which moved back and forth to keep the ball moving very slowly for timing accuracy.  At a specific time, a computer commanded the arm to open up to allow the ball to continue to roll down and hit two triggering switches to turn on loud buzzers.

The entry also needed to initiate an audible sound by the ball, as close to 20 seconds as possible.  The Chaparral students clocked an impressive 20.218 or 0.218 seconds over the 20-second mark!

What was the best part of the experience?

“We liked the meetings and practices at Chick-fil-A best!” the pair exclaimed.