District Five InvenTeam wins first place at Pumpkin Chunkin’ Competition

Members of the InvenTeam from the Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center) placed first at the Annual Pumpkin Chunkin’ competition and Fall into Science Festival on November 13. Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) hosts the annual event.

InvenTeam members present at the competition were Samuel Pacific, Zachary Moore, and Seth Trochesset.

The Fall into Science Festival promotes Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) by way of hands-on exhibits in conjunction with the Trebuchet Pumpkin Chunkin’ event. Numerous displays of STEM-related topics to the engineering programs were on display with many activities.

The Pumpkin Chunkin’ teams were judged on three aspects: ‘Knowledge & Presentation of Design’, ‘Repeatability’, and ‘Maximum distance’. In the repeatability event, the two throws scored were within 2 feet of the mark. The maximum distance achieved was 109-feet. The Knowledge & Presentation of Design portion required the team members to verbally describe the design process they used to create and optimize their trebuchet.

Senior Samuel Pacific stated, “It was eye-opening to see other ways to build a trebuchet, everyone was different.”

The team competed with a traditional rotating arm trebuchet which was modified from a previous year. The weight-driven catapult threw a two-pound ball using a maximum of 100 pounds of counterweight.

The InvenTeam is a group of students who promote a culture of invention. They engage in problem-based learning that fosters STEM-based skills. The environment of the InvenTeam is one that promotes teamwork and idea-sharing while promoting a mindset of civic-mindedness.

Martin Cwiakala, the InvenTeam coach said, “Theta Tau has been very supportive of STEM at the High School Level with their Pumpkin Chunkin’ and Rube Goldberg competitions. Adding the Fall into Science Festival for elementary students is a great bridge between elementary and high school. The elementary students get to see the cool things they can do in High School.”

Ashley Trumbull was not present at the competition but worked extensively with the construction and testing of the trebuchet. Their mentor is Dr. Martin Cwiakala. Also present at the event was Seth Trochesset’s father. Each member of the team received a trophy, a Microbits start kit, and two KiwiCo STEM kits. The team also received a $400 stipend for expenses.

Left to Right: Zachary Moore, Ashley Trumbull,  with their InvenTeam Trebuchet and 1st Place Trophy, Microbit Starter Kit, and KiwiCo STEM kits.

Left to Right: Zachary Moore, Samuel Pacific, and Seth Trochesset with their InvenTeam Trebuchet