Two teams from William Paca Middle School and William Floyd Middle School finished in the top six at the 27th annual Middle School Maglev Contest held recently at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY. The maglev contest is based on research by two Brookhaven engineers, the late Gordon Danby and James Powell, who invented and patented maglev technology — the suspension, guidance, and propulsion of vehicles by magnetic forces. Powell was an honored guest at the contest and gave a brief talk encouraging students to pursue a career in science or engineering.
According to Dr. Christopher Kelly, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teacher at William Paca Middle School who oversaw the Paca team along with his counterpart John Rumpler at William Floyd Middle School,students used math, science, and technology principles to optimize a design of a maglev vehicle then then took those designs and competed against other middle school students from across Long Island. Maglev vehicles were constructed according to engineering specifications in a choice of seven categories: electrified track, futuristic, wind power, gravity, self-propelled balloon, self-propelled-other, and scale-model design. Judging was based on speed, efficiency, appearance, and the students’ written design process.
This was the first time that William Floyd schools participated in this event.