Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Hosts STEM Challenge for Local Middle School Students

Glenys Young

June 2, 2017


The fourth annual event pits 10 teams against one another to build and race cardboard boats.


The Texas Tech University STEM Center for Outreach, Research & Education (STEM CORE) and Lubbock Independent School District are joining forces for the fourth straight year to host the 2017 Middle School STEM Challenge, which pits 10 LISD middle schools against each other in a weeklong competition to design and build boats out of cardboard and duct tape.

Each LISD middle school sends a math or science teacher and four students to represent their campus in the competition from Monday through Friday (June 5-9). One Texas Tech undergraduate student will join each team, and a few Texas Tech experts will guide the teams throughout the week.

Participating schools are:

  • Atkins Middle School
  • Cavazos Middle School
  • Dunbar Collee Preparatory Academy
  • Evans Middle School
  • Hutchinson Middle School
  • Irons Middle School
  • Mackenzie Middle School
  • O. L. Slaton Middle School
  • Smylie Wilson Middle School
  • Talkington School for Young Women Leaders

The challenge culminates in a final competition on June 9 at the Pete Ragus Aquatic Center, where the boats will be put to the test in the water. Each member of the team will be in the boat, and the boats will be raced in front of parents, Texas Tech professors and staff, and other interested community supporters. All community members are welcome to attend.

The winning team will take home the Dwyer Cup for the following academic year. The cup is named after former Texas Tech STEM CORE director and creator of the program, Jerry Dwyer.

The schedule for June 9 is as follows:

  • 9:30 a.m.: Dry dock marina – All visitors are invited to view the boats and talk to team members before the race begins.
  • 10 a.m.: Races – The race to bring home the cup begins. The fastest time loading, floating and paddling wins. An award for "Longest Float” will also be given.
  • 11:30 a.m.: Awards ceremony and lunch – The competition's finale will take place at M. C. Overton Park, directly south of the aquatic center.

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