CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than 1,300 students from across West Virginia are testing their math and science skills at the 19th Annual Capital City Pumpkin Drop.

The event drew 40 schools from 13 counties to Appalachian Power Park Thursday.

Elementary, middle and high school students are tasked with designing a container to protect a pumpkin from smashing. The container, with the pumpkin inside, is dropped from a designated height. Groups are judged on whether their pumpkin stays intact and how close they land to the target.

Cash prizes were awarded to the top schools. This year’s winners were:

Most Creative Design: Tug Valley High School, Mingo County Elementary School

Elementary School
First Place: Elk Center Elementary, Kanawha County
Second Place: Justice Elementary, Logan County Middle School

Middle School
First Place: Logan Middle School. Logan County
Second Place: Walton Middle School, Roane County
Third Place: John Adams Middle School, Kanawha County

High School
First Place: Greenbrier East High School, Greenbrier County

Grand Slam Champion: Greenbrier East High School, Greenbrier County

More than 120 pumpkins were dropped.

Edan Reynolds, a ninth grader at Cross Lanes Christian School, said her group’s pumpkin failed to keep its shape.

“We put it in a box with a bunch of paper towels, bubble wrap and soft things,” she said. “It did not work. It actually smashed open.”

The goal is to teach students critical thinking and teamwork. It was Reynolds’ first time participating in the competition.

“It kind of teaches us to think outside the box because this isn’t like a normal science project compared to making poster boards,” she said.

Reynolds said her school was split up into three groups. Two of the groups had successful pumpkin drops. It took a lot of planning, though, she said.

“We all had a week to come up with how we were going to build our box and pumpkins and then we tested it at our school,” she said.

Thursday’s event was hosted by BridgeValley Community and Technical College.

The Capital City Pumpkin Drop, created by the Education Alliance, has been around since 1998.

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