Solar idea stacks up as top design.
Could a solar bus station be in our future?
It will be if Kelsey Gorman, this year's winner of Eugene's version of the Block Kids Building competition, has anything to say about it. Kelsey on Saturday put together a miniature bus station out of 100 Lego-like blocks, a file folder, some string and tin foil.
The roof of Kelsey's building was lined with faux solar panels, intended to capture light and power the buses. Kelsey explained that public transportation is good for the environment, but having public transportation that runs on solar energy would be even better.
"I wanted to build some kind of cool design, but I also wanted to build something good for the environment," said the 12-year-old student from the Village School.
Kelsey defeated a field of 76 other young builders between the ages of 6 and 12 at The Science Factory near Autzen Stadium. The competitors, sporting small yellow hard hats, put together a variety of creations that ranged from houses to bridges to iron factories. Each builder had 45 minutes to put together a design. Rules stated it had to be a structure of some sort.
Kelsey, the winner of the 10-12 age group, beat out Zak Moore of the 8-9 age group and Declan McElligot from the 6-7 group in the final judging. It was the second year in a row that the top honor went to a girl.
Zak put together a bridge meant to span a large body of water. He said a lot of other kids made bridges, so he had to find a way to set himself apart. He got inspiration from a dam-building exhibit near his station and decided that if people fell in the water, they would need to be rescued. So Zak built a small rescue plane with a string attached to pull in those in peril.
Declan, the winner of the youngest age group, built a demolition station. He used a rock as a wrecking ball, and attached it to his building with some string. He said the idea "just came to me."
The contest, in its 19th year overall and second in Eugene, is sponsored by the National Association of Women In Construction. Twenty-one construction experts were on hand to judge the contest - and maybe recruit some future talent as well.
"Our objective here is to introduce these children to the construction business," said Jeanne Staton of Staton Companies, a Northwest-based demolition company. Children aren't often given the opportunity to look at construction as a career choice early on, so contests like this are important to get them thinking about the industry, Staton said.
As the winner of this stage, Kelsey's project now goes to the regional round. If the solar station is judged the best there, it goes to the national finals.
Kelsey's competitors included Max Haugland, who placed third in the 10-12 age group with his inner-city solar panel. He attached tin foil to some string to create a rotating solar panel. Max said all the big solar panels take up too much room and occupy isolated areas. His creation, he said, would be attached to a skyscraper in a downtown area, so it could shoot out solar rays over multiple blocks.
Over in the 8-9 division, third-grader Owen Parker put together a skybridge to help people traverse a dangerous lava flow. He built spiral staircases leading to the bridge. And in case anyone happened to slip and fall, Owen included nets below to save them from a fiery grave.
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|Title Annotation:||City/Region; Kelsey Gorman's green-friendly bus station takes first in the Block Kids Building contest|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Feb 22, 2009|
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