MESA students build large balloon launchers
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 15:04
Students in Math, Engineering and Science Achievement were judged on the distance they could launch 200-gram water balloons during a trebuchet contest April 13 in San Pedro Springs Park.
Participants in the contest were members of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists, Society of Women Engineers and Society of Physics Students, all clubs affiliated with MESA.
MESA is an on-campus study center that helps students in mathematics, science, engineering and technology fields achieve academic success.
Teams constructed trebuchets, a medieval weapon similar to a catapult, of wood, PVC pipes, metal, raw plastic material and cloth. There was no set number of students per team.
All the material was donated by geology freshman Rueben Uribe’s family, which owns San Tex Bearing Co. The machinery parts firm gave the students leftover material.
Each team was given four attempts to launch the water balloons, but SWE was the only team whose balloon gained positive distance.
SWE is a club that empowers women to succeed and be recognized for their contributions in engineering.
“Our device was a floating arm trebuchet, which was supposed to have given us a long distance,” Uribe said, however a string on the trebuchet malfunctioned.
SWE’s balloon flew 15 feet and won the contest along with $75.
Lillian Martinez, MAES chapter president and civil engineering sophomore, came up with the idea for the contest.
Martinez envisioned Memorial High School students competing against the college students, but the high school students canceled at the last minute.
The contest helps MESA’s teams prepare for the Monster Mash Pumpkin Smash, an annual contest in October presented by The University of Texas San Antonio.
For more information about joining any of the MESA clubs, call Martinez 210-845-9768.