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21st Annual Tech Challenge Overflows with Record 900 Students

Press Release Date 
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the nation\'s premier science and technology museums, today announced the winners of its 21st anniversary TECH CHALLENGE 2008: Water Works, which drew a record number of teams from Silicon Valley and beyond to the museum for last weekend\'s finale. More than 900 students in grades five to 12 in teams of up to six participated in this year\'s real-world challenge: to design a system for transporting water from a river to the water tank of an elevated village in Africa using only the flow of the stream to generate power. A Tech Challenge record 230 teams registered for this year\'s challenge from eight Bay Area Counties, the San Joaquin Valley, and even New York, where a remote team participated live in the event and were judged by webcam. Top awards for Best Overall Solution went to three teams each in the high school and middle school divisions. Best Overall Solution encompasses device performance, engineering process and style and presentation. The winning teams include: 9th to 12th Grade Best Overall Solution
  • 1st Place, "The Mortals," Cupertino High School, Cupertino
  • 2nd Place, "H2Owned,v Cupertino High School, Cupertino
  • 3rd Place, "Aquastic 4," Cupertino High School, Cupertino
5th to 8th Grade Best Overall Solution
  • 1st Place, "Avalanche," Terman Middle School, Palo Alto
  • 2nd Place, "Aquarius," Joaquin Miller Middle School, San Jose
  • 3rd Place, "Tokay Colony," Tokay Colony Elementary School, Lodi
Cupertino High School, with 32 teams entered, not only swept the upper division overall awards but also took the honors for Most Spectacular Failure, Best Team Name ("H2Owned"), Most Innovative Design, Most Interesting Device, Greatest Risk Takers, Best Team Spirit, Most Reliable Device Performance, Best Costume and Best Verbal Presentation. In the middle school competition, 25 of the 158 registered teams came from 13 Title 1 schools, Boys and Girls Clubs and community centers in San Jose, Santa Clara, San Mateo, East Palo Alto, Santa Cruz and Salinas. Throughout its 21-year history, the Tech Challenge has strived to provide students with real life engineering design challenges to both inspire their creativity and build teamwork skills. All students operate in teams with a minimum of two participants and an adult advisor from their school, family or a local business. "We congratulate all the participants who helped us make this a record-setting year for participation in this signature program of The Tech," said Peter Friess, The Tech\'s President. "The growth of Tech Challenge and the enthusiasm of the kids in tackling a very challenging design problem is a tribute to them, their parents and their advisors." Most Spectacular Failure and Other Awards In the spirit of Tech Challenge to foster problem solving and learn through failure, another key award is the "Most Spectacular Failure". It is the goal of this award to remind students that failure is an important part of the innovation process, and that the greatest failures can lead to the greatest successes. Teams achieving "Most Spectacular Failure" this year were, in the 9th to 12th grade category, "Raising the Bar," Cupertino High School, Cupertino; and in the 5th to 8th grade category, "H2O Show," Challenger Harwood School, San Jose. Other award categories included: Peer Award for Best Team Name, Teamwork Award, and a series of Judge\'s Choice and Inspirational Awards presented to teams that excelled in distinctive ways. All other award winners are listed on the Tech Challenge web site at Tech Challenge Sponsors Cadence Design Systems and Brocade were the lead sponsors of this year\'s Tech Challenge. Other corporate sponsors included Intel, The Noyce Foundation, Yahoo! Employee Foundation, SAP, Symantec, The Tech Museum\'s Emeritus Board, The David H. Liu Foundation, SanDisk, Seagate, ScholarShare, AMD, IBM, Tyco Electronics, Alliance of Technology & Women (ATW), Adaptec, Northrop Grumman and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Media sponsors included NBC11, KTSF and Make: 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. Located in San Jose, California - the Capital of Silicon Valley - its mission, as a public-benefit corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Museum Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum of Innovation honors the past, 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