A group of four Los Banos Junior High students took first place in a statewide math and science contest recently, earning them a trip to the national competition in Ogden, Utah, on June 22-25.
Eighth-graders Daniel Baerwaldt and Ernesto Castro, and seventh-graders Erick Lara and Carol Garcia, won the statewide Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement, or MESA, competition at the University of California, Irvine, on May 14 for their work and presentation on a prosthetic arm.
“These kids, the biggest thing they’re learning is how to program, minimize costs and solve problems,” said Valentina Mascorro, one of the advisers to the Los Banos MESA group.
Mascorro said the competition requires groups to write a paper, put up a display board, prepare an oral presentation and perform their task.
The students were tasked with building a prosthetic arm that had to place and relocate objects, and throw bean bags to specified areas.
One of the problems the students had to solve in the competition was how to maintain power during the course of the competition, Mascorro said.
The group also won third place at the regional competition at Fresno State University on April 9.