TWU hosts 14th annual Edible Car Contest

Submitted photo – Team 49 from Bush Middle School won first place in the 14th annual Edible Car Contest. The team consisted of (in no particular order) Max Matsushita, Hannah Hun, Jung Choi and Ava Castillo….

Submitted photo – Team 49 from Bush Middle School won first place in the 14th annual Edible Car Contest. The team consisted of (in no particular order) Max Matsushita, Hannah Hun, Jung Choi and Ava Castillo.

Fudge round cookie wheels, pretzel axles and fondant-covered Rice Krispie Treats reflect the creativity and engineering skills area students have when winning a contest is at stake.

The Texas Womans University College of Arts and Sciences and the Mathematics and Computer Science department hosted the 14th annual Edible Car Contest last Friday, inviting 62 teams of middle and high school students from Little Elm, Lewisville, Coppell and other communities to participate in designing and building the best-looking, fastest and most aerodynamic miniature car.

Students used their imaginations to create cars out of cookies, breadsticks, fondant, vegetables and candy. Each car was required to look like a car and operate properly with rotating wheels down a ramp.

Although their car may not have been the quickest, Team 33 from the Little Elm Education Center was named the Best Theme for their car that resembled a Krabby Patty on wheels from the popular childrens show Spongebob Squarepants. The Education Center sent 13 teams from its campus.

Team 33, which consisted of team captain Jordan Freeman, Jennifer Hernandez, Lesly Castro and Ailadi Garcia, built their car out of cookies, pretzels, Lifesavers candy, Rice Krispie Treats, fondant and icing. It took the team two days with a total of about 6 hours to make the car.

We were first going to make Spongebob, Garcia said. I like yellow, but Lesly said okay, lets make a Krabby Patty and put Spongebob on it.

The contest begins with an evaluation of each car to ensure it meets the proper requirements like size and edible materials. The second part involves an eight to 10-foot ramp on a 20-degree incline. Each team has three opportunities to get their car down ramp.

Im kind of amazed at the ingenuity these students demonstrate, Dr. Don Edwards, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said of the cars.

However, not all of the cars made it down the ramp as some of the axles and wheels broke while others fell apart as they rolled down. Edwards, who is also the chairman of the Mathematics and Sciences Department, said in recent years, students have think the bigger or more it looks like a car, the better their car will perform on the ramp. Instead, the smaller cars are the ones that have the most success.

I think they found out that the smaller cars toward the low-end of specification work better, Edwards said. We had a couple that exploded when it went down, but many of them were able to put it back together and go again.

One Little Elm team discovered that potatoes do not make properly functioning wheels.

The potato size [was the hardest part], Ari Hiltierand said about building their car.

One Lewisville team whose car was falling apart while waiting in line to send it down the ramp gave advice to players next year.

Dont do what we did, Jeff Dyer said.

Students use their time before sending their cars down the ramp to fix minor issues such as wheels falling off or axles breaking. Before getting in line for the ramp, Team 33 was blowing on the icing-covered pretzels the Krabby Patty was sitting on to get it to dry faster.

The contest grew out of a class TWU had 15 years ago. One of its purposes was to encourage women to get involved in the engineering, math and science fields. One of the criteria to forming a team is to include at least two female students as members.

The idea of teamwork and designing something to specifications is just something they can get into and show them that this can be fun, Edwards said.

Some students said they participate in the challenging event because it gets them out of school for the day, but others recognize how the contest can actually be fun. Hunter Barnett from Little Elm Education Center Team 34 said he and his team also made a boat out of melted-down caramel along with their car.

It seemed like a good idea [to participate], and its pretty fun, Barnett said.

Two teams from Coppells Bush Middle School won first and third in the contest, repeating last years results of placing first and third. Some members of the winning teams this year also participated the year before, but this is the first time for them to place.

First place went to Team 49, which consisted of Max Matsushita, Hannah Hun, Jung Choi and Ava Castillo. Team 45 was awarded third place, consisting of members Alina Paik, Kelsey Nguyen, Sarah Parker and Rachel Parker. Cash prizes totaling $600 were handed out to winners.

Edwards said he hopes students take a few things away from participating

One, I would like them to think that continuing math and science here is a good thing, Edwards said. Two, Id like them to go away with a positive experience. I would hope they take away that doing something as a team is good thing. Its important to work with other people.

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