CHARLESTON, W.Va. – You didn’t hear the crack of a baseball bat at Appalachian Power Park Thursday. No, that noise was the crack of pumpkins.
The 15th annual Capitol City Pumpkin Drop drew 1,500 kids from 28 schools in 11 counties. They ranged in age from 4th to 12th grades. (see winners listed below)
“Our goal is to get kids excited about STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and to do that in a way that’s fun for them,” explained Melissa Thompson, an associate professor at Bridgemont Community and Technical College, one of the sponsors of the event.
And what’s more fun than tossing a pumpkin from 60-feet in the air from a bucket truck?
They’re not just any pumpkins. The students work in teams to create a contraption that will soften the fall of the pumpkin. The winner is the pumpkin that doesn’t splat and comes closest to the bulls eye.
Kaitlyn Hickman, from Elkview Middle School in Kanawha County, said her team spent a lot of time putting together a pumpkin-proof container.
“We took a big box and we put [pool] noodles on the side. And then we added another box and put sponges in that with the pumpkin. We taped those both shut and we added paper towels and taped those to the top,” said Hickman.
So did the pumpkin survive?
“Our pumpkin splatted!”
But Thompson stressed even the failures are a success for the students because they’re learning a lot of lessons.
“We’re trying to teach them in kinesthetic ways, hands-on ways, like we do in the community and technical colleges, the practical application of these big design criteria and these big goals,” according to Thompson.
All total, organizers handed out $1,500 in prize money to the most successful teams including $250 for the Grand Slam Pumpkin.