Jefferson Middle School Students Participate In Tech Wars

Jefferson Middle School students Grace Arranze and McKenna Graham watched as their Egg-Crash Cart zoomed down the track smashing into a wall. Technology teacher Ted Hoca, opened the cart and pulled out the eggs inside a zip-loc bag.

“One is demolished but the other is just cracked and still intact, good job,” said Hoca.

Hoca was running the Egg-Crash Cart activity at the recent Chautauqua Tech Wars in the Jamestown Community College gymnasium. Fifty Jefferson Middle School technology students participated in not only the Egg-Crash Carts, but also CO2 Cars. They also had the opportunity to observe other students perform catapult and robotic challenges. Hoca’s students designed and built the Egg-Crash Carts during their Technology classes. The carts had very specific design requirements including: car body, crush zone, roll cage and a seat and restraint system. Students received points for each criterion but also for whether or not their eggs survived the crash. Students received more points the more intact their egg was at the end of the crash test.

“I really liked designing and building the car because you get to use your creativity and figure out how to make the best cart with ideas like using a lot of padding on the outside so your egg doesn’t get crushed,” said Jefferson Middle School eighth grader Zach Schweiger.

Hoca helped design the Chautauqua Tech Wars this year as president of the Technology Teachers Association of Chautauqua County. He worked with coordinator Jesse Perison, from Randolph High School, to create a well-rounded experience for students. The Technology Teachers of Chautauqua County, Dream It Do It of Western New York, NYS Technology and Engineering Educators’ Association, JCC, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturer’s Association of the Southern Tier sponsored the Chautauqua Tech Wars.

Jefferson students, along with other JPS students and students from around the county, visited different venues at JCC to participate in, not only hands-on technology activities, but also to meet with 40 local non-profits and businesses, such as manufacturers, to learn more about local job opportunities.

“The Manufacturer’s Association has seen a large deficit in skilled labor in this area so it is very important for our students to see the opportunities available to them in the technology field and that there are great jobs right here in Chautauqua County,” said Hoca. “We hope events like this spark interest in students to pursue technology as a college major or career path.”

The students also enjoyed the experience.

“I really liked seeing the high school robotics course that was set-up,” said Jefferson eighth grader Samantha Lanphere. “It’s a cool, hands-on way to use technology and I think taking the Robotics Class at Jamestown High School might be interesting.”

Students were provided lunch from a college-prep grant from JCC and students also received awards. The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation also donated $1,000 to the event.