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Record number of teams fired up for victory in 22nd Annual Tech Challenge 2009: Explore the Volcano!

Press Release Date 
Tuesday, 28 April, 2009
Thousands of onlookers cheered students from across the Bay Area Saturday as the contestants vied for top honors during Tech Challenge 2009: Explore the Volcano! at The Tech Museum. The day-long contest, which featured nearly 250 colorfully attired teams with names such as "Peace and Lava" and the "Flame-n-goes," was the most successful in The Tech Challenge history, with more than 1,000 students participating and nearly 4,000 people in attendance. Teams were tasked with building a delivery device to transport ping-pong balls to the heart of a volcano. "The students did a fabulous job crafting some of the most creative devices we've seen at The Tech Challenge," said Bill Fisher, program director of The Tech Challenge. "Some worked incredibly well, others didn't. But each was built with the spirit of innovation that helped to make the Silicon Valley what it is today." Three teams came from as far away as New York and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, participating live in the event via web cam. The signature science and technology program challenges students from grades 5-12 to create a solution to a real-world problem. For more than 20 years, The Tech Challenge has allowed some 12,000 youth from elementary, middle and high schools throughout Northern California and other regions to hone their creativity and innovation on challenges that included building devices to fight wildfires, remove invasive fish from a lake, explore an Egyptian tomb and to survey craters on Mars. Students were encouraged to begin work early on next year's Challenge: International Space Station - MISSION: Space Junk! Teams must rid outer space of debris left behind by past space missions. Registration is now open. Top awards for Students were encouraged to begin work early on next year's Challenge: International Space Station - MISSION: Space Junk! Teams must rid outer space of debris left behind by past space missions. Registration is now open. Top awards for "Best Overall Solution" went to three teams each in the high school, middle school and elementary school divisions. Best Overall Solution encompasses device performance, engineering and design, style and presentation and the scientific process. The winning teams are: High School:
  • 1st Place: "Funky Shiitake Mushrooms," Mission San Jose High School, Fremont
  • 2nd Place: "Vaiders," Monta Vista High School, Cupertino
  • 3rd Place: "Molten Rockstars," Cupertino High School, Cupertino
Grades 7 and 8
  • 1st Place: "Fireballz," Terman Middle School, Palo Alto
  • 2nd Place: "Molten Metal," Terman Middle School, Palo Alto
  • 3rd Place: "Terman Geological Survey," Terman Middle School, Palo Alto
Grades 5 and 6
  • 1st Place: "Hot Shots," St. John Vianney, San Jose
  • 2nd Place: "The Eagles," Encinal Elementary, Menlo Park
  • 3rd Place: "En Fuego," Juana Briones Elementary School, Palo Alto
All other winners, in categories ranging from "Most Spectacular Failure" to "Best Team Name" to "Most Perseverance," can be found on The Tech Museum's website at: techchallenge.thetech.org/awards.cfm. Lead sponsors of The Tech Challenge are Cadence Design Systems and Brocade. Other corporate sponsors include Intel, SAP, Yahoo!, American Honda Foundation, S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, The Tech Museum's Emeritus Board, David H. Liu Foundation, Amgen, Symantec, SanDisk, AMD, IBM, Hitachi Data Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, ScholarShare, Xilinx Inc., and SDForum TechWomen's Program. About The Tech Museum of Innovation The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Tech Museum - located in the Capital of Silicon Valley - is a non-profit educational resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing technologies affecting their lives. Through educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc. The Tech Museum of Innovation celebrates the present and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information about The Tech Museum of Innovation, visit www.thetech.org. Contact: Roqua Montez Senior Manager Public Relations (408) 795-6225 rmontez@thetech.org