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Wireless phone charger wins top prize for Banks Trail students in Edison engineering event

Banks Trail Middle School eighth-grade students, from left, Arondé Smith, Cody Thomas, Molly Anderson and Andrew Musmacker hold their first-place awards from the 2015 Edison Invention Challenge.
Banks Trail Middle School eighth-grade students, from left, Arondé Smith, Cody Thomas, Molly Anderson and Andrew Musmacker hold their first-place awards from the 2015 Edison Invention Challenge. COURTESY OF JULIE MAYNARD

Four students at Banks Trail Middle School won top honors at a national invention competition.

The eighth-graders claimed the first-place prize in the 2015 Edison Invention Challenge. The group designed a wireless cellphone charger that can be used if there is no electricity available.

Arondé Smith, Cody Thomas, Molly Anderson and Andrew Musmacker are students in Julie Maynard’s Advanced Industrial Technology Education class at Banks Trail. The competition is a requirement for the class, and this year the hard work paid off.

“The students on the Chargerz Team have very diverse skills, including research, sketching, building their prototype, video editing and Web page designing, which allowed them to excel during the design process while working in their collaborative group,” Maynard said.

More than 100 four-member teams from 50 different schools nationwide participated in this year’s Edison competition, an intense process from start to finish. Teachers are given a stipend and a kit providing alternative energy materials for the students to use in designs. Teams must submit a video essay about Thomas Edison, a PowerPoint for their engineering notebook, a PowerPoint for their build process and a demonstration and marketing video for their prototype.

For their design to work, the winning team used a solar panel and special tiles, called peltier tiles, that conduct electricity when heat is transferred through them.

“I think this goes to show that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything,” said Thomas.

After Maynard introduced her students to peltier tiles, the group took the idea and ran with it.

“We wanted to design something that was relevant to an object we all liked, so we ended up making a phone charger that was powered with our hands,” Anderson said.

It’s a lesson not just in technology and engineering but teamwork.

“We learned you can accomplish more as a team,” Musmacker said. “It is a lot easier to get things done. And in having such a good team for this project, we were able to make it this far and win first place in a national competition.”

Learn more:

For information on the Edison Innovation Foundation and its programs, visit www.thomasedison.

org.

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