Unusual competition generates interest in science, engineering

Junkyard Generator Competition

What happens when you take high school science buffs and give them the power to create zany contraptions out of everyday junk? The Junkyard Generator Competition—an interactive contest that encourages some of the state’s most creative young minds to mix scientific learning with innovative thinking and, of course, lots of fun.

The competition, sponsored by NAU’s engineering programs, APS and the Hewlett Engineering Talent Pipe, promotes interaction between NAU, Arizona high school physics teachers and their excelling physics students.

“By coming to NAU and seeing our research and teaching laboratories, as well as our undergraduate students’ outstanding research and design projects, the high school students will see first-hand that NAU is a place where they can obtain a high-quality university education in science and engineering,” said Allison Kipple, assistant professor of electrical engineering and coordinator of the event.

Event participants not only will have the chance to compete, but many participating school teams have been mentored by professional or student engineers from NAU. The competition will be held on Feb. 28 at the Engineering building and includes tours of the engineering research and teaching labs and project demonstrations from NAU students.

Each generator in the competition must be human powered, produce current, have no manufactured parts that were created for generators, and be truly created with “junk.” The teams will be judged on scientific understanding, creativeness, the amount of power generated, a presentation and a project notebook.

Participating schools include:

  • Alchesay High School, Whiteriver
  • Boulder Creek High School, Anthem
  • Cesar Chavez High School, Phoenix
  • Chandler High School, Chandler
  • Deer Valley High School, Glendale
  • Desert Edge High School, Goodyear
  • McClintock High School, Tempe
  • Palo Verde High School, Tucson
  • Sinagua High School, Flagstaff
  • Trevor Brown High School, Phoenix