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Mizzou Engineering competition focuses on learning by doing

Kellen Burkett, an organizer of Mizzou's third annual Engineering Competition Day, prepares a target for the catapult contest on the Francis Quadrangle. Photo by Melinda Sheffler

Catapulting an egg toward a frying pan 40 feet away takes more than a steady hand and a good eye.

More importantly, it requires a practical understanding of the principles of conservation of energy and momentum as well as other laws of physics. In short-scientific knowledge.

Science and math are at the heart of Mizzou Engineering’s annual high school engineering competition day, which features contests testing egg catapult, wooden bridge and Web page designs. Between 300 and 400 Missouri high school students are slated to compete in this year’s event on Tuesday, April 11.

“This is a fun competition with a very academic feel to it,” said Sue Hamilton, College of Engineering career specialist. “It gives teachers another way to teach math and science principles.”

More than 60 teams from 20 high schools throughout the state will participate, including students from Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City. Winning teams will receive $500 College of Engineering scholarships.