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Climbing the Rainforest Canopy at Tech Challenge 2003

Press Release Date 
Thursday, 13 March, 2003
Scientists all over the world are gravely concerned about the health of our rainforests. They are a crucial part of maintaining healthy life on our planet. Brazilian scientists are leading an international team to examine the effects of deforestation by collecting rainforest leaves and analyzing their contents. On April 26, 2003, over 500 students from all over the Bay Area will become part of this team as they show off their home-grown, innovative devices that can retrieve leaf specimens from the rainforest canopy at The Tech Museum of Innovation's 16th Annual Tech Challenge. The Tech Challenge is an engineering design competition that asks 5th through 12th grade teams to design, create and operate a mechanical and/or robotic device that meets each year's unique challenge. Young innovators are immersed in real world problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork and perseverance. Teams work diligently on their devices for up to four months prior to the event. This year's challenge is to design, build and operate a device that will climb up a 15 1/2 foot jungle vine, reach the top of a simulated rainforest canopy, retrieve a tropical leaf (ping pong ball) and descend the rope safely with the ball. Teams have three minutes for their devices to perform the task successfully. Tech Challenge 2003 will take place on Saturday April 26 in the San Jose Civic Auditorium. Teams will compete by age division starting at 10:30 a.m. and finishing at 6:30 p.m. "Tech Challenge gives students the opportunity to design and execute solutions to the same challenges faced by engineers and scientists working in the field," said Craig Baker, The Tech's Vice President, Learning Experiences. "This "design-challenge" method of learning is the basis of what we do at The Tech. It really encourages learning through the process of innovation." Participants are judged in areas that include the success of their devices, the thoroughness of their design journals, methodology of their approach, and team spirit. Prizes are awarded to top designs in each category. Special awards are given for Team Spirit, Best Looking Device, Most Spectacular Failure, Most Courageous Team and Best Use of Eco-Friendly Materials. Tech Challenge is sponsored by Intel, SBC Pacific Bell, NBC11, Barbara and Steve Young, Seagate, Lockheed Martin, AMD, Hitachi Data Systems, Rotary Club, The Robert N. Noyce Foundation, Peninsula Community Foundation, The Leslie Family Foundation and The David H. Liu Foundation. Located in downtown San Jose, CA, The Tech Museum of Innovation, a non-profit organization, engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives and aims to inspire the innovator in everyone. For more information, visit www.thetech.org or call (408) 294-TECH.