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Tec-Smart: Adventure in Chicago

Christian Hines, EMC Staff Writer

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This past week at Tec-Smart we attended the National Kidwind competition in Chicago. Our group was made up of Lindsey Gileski, Jacob O’Brien, Erik Malanoski, myself, and Derek Lyons, from Fort Edward. On May 8, 2018 we got on a plane to Chicago at 10:30 in the morning. We arrived in Chicago and the adventure began.

As soon as we walked off of the plane at O’Hare it was obvious that we were no longer in Galway. The first thing we did was go buy train tickets because this was how we would be navigating around the city. It was a fun experience riding the trains because you see and meet many different kinds of people. The first lady we ran into could tell we were tourists and quickly welcomed us into the city and wished us well during our stay. This was a fantastic start to this trip. The next stop was our hotel and upon arrival we quickly realized that we were staying in a 4 star hotel because the rooms were beautiful.

At this point it was time to go to the McCormick Center where the competition was held. Since we arrived slightly late we were not able to test our wind turbine design on the first day, so we just listened to the orientation and met some interesting people. We met two kids from Virginia who had constructed a very advanced turbine. They then informed us that the total cost of construction was well over $1,000. They had $200 of copper in the back of the wind turbine, a trailer hub, and perfectly carved wooden blades. These kids were extremely smart and helpful in giving us advice on improvements we could make to our own wind turbine. This group ended up producing over 500 joules which was the best out of all of the teams. To put this into perspective our wind turbine generated closer to 25 joules. This team from Virginia ended up winning first place at nationals and we got 9th out of 17 teams. This may not seem very good but we were only allowed a little over a month to work on our design. The group from Virginia has been improving on their model since 2015. Also, at the competition we were paired with a collegiate team competing with their wind turbine. We were paired with the Texas Tech team where we met Shawn. He offered extremely valuable advice considering he is currently studying wind engineering and plans on continuing his study to get an MBA. His knowledge allowed us to make some minor modifications that allowed our wind turbine to capture more wind and generate more energy. Aside from the competition there were many other fun activities that we participated in.

On the first night we all headed over to Wrigley Field to watch a Cubs game. This by far was my favorite part of the trip. We ended up getting fantastic seats that were close to the field. The Chicago Cubs ended up beating the Miami Marlins 4-3 in a game that came down to the wire. This was by far the best game MLB game I have ever been too. One of the highlights at the stadium was trying a Chicago hot dog. This was a foot long hot dog that was loaded with grilled onions, ketchup, mustard, relish, tomatoes, and pickles. It was delicious.

The next day we ate some more great food starting with deep dish pizza from a local shop. This place was so good that we went there twice during the duration of the trip. However, the best meal that we had was from a restaurant called Brown Bag Seafood Company. This food was loved by everyone from the grilled cod, to the fish tacos, and the lobster roll that I had.

The lobster was in big chunks and was in a toasted buttery bun. This was served with truffle tots and I also got some New England clam chowder. Overall, everyone was impressed with the food we ate and everyone enjoyed the trip.

After going through the whole trip we realized as a group that we would like to compete again next year. As seniors we can improve upon our current design to hopefully produce more energy and capture more wind. After seeing the team from Virginia, we are confident that with more time and effort put forth we can be competitive to win at nationals.

 

Quotes from teammates:

Jacob: “I thought it was very good overall and we saw many cool things on our journey through Chicago!”

Erik: “I never would have thought that Chicago was as stunning and clean of a city. Being that Chicago is a busy city, there is always something to do and new things to experience. I would love to visit here again since the trip was not only educational but also a lot of fun.”

Lindsey: “Chicago had surprisingly good lobster rolls! Chicago was a very nice city and I would definitely go back again. This was definitely the best school trip I have ever been on.”

Derek: “The trip was pretty good. This was my first time on a plane and it was really cool. I hope to visit the windy city again in the future.”

 

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