Catholic Memorial hosts STEM Challenge for students, 250 compete

More than 250 middle school students from 18 schools in Waukesha and Milwaukee counties competed in a STEM Challenge on Wednesday.

The competition, held at Catholic Memorial High School, was a way to encourage students' interest in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math.

"They are building a roller coaster that a marble goes down, and it’s timed so whoever has the slowest longest time wins," mentor Owen Diedrich said.

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Each team of students was given a marble, the same materials – string, box, tape – and a mentor to create their roller coaster. With limited time and resources, the creative freedom is what some competitors enjoyed the most.

"You’re given the ability to make it how big you want, and it can twist and turn and spin," Diedrich said.

Student STEM Challenge at Catholic Memorial High School

"I just think it’s fun how they limited time and resources for your design," competitor Daniel Connolly, a seventh-grade student at Lumen Christi School, said. "I just find that sort of stuff fun, and it includes STEM, which is one of my favorite areas.

"It’s a nice opportunity to branch out to what I’m used to and something new – and who knows, I might end up liking something that could involve that."

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The winning team was from St. Mary's Parish School in Menomonee Falls with a time of 29 seconds. The team's mentor said brainstorming played a big part in why they got first place.

The winners got a goodie bag and bragging rights. They also hope their teacher will allow the class to get a hamster as a reward.

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