University of Vermont

Middle and High School Students Create Emergency Shelters

Release Date: 10-28-2010

Author: Dawn Densmore

Refugee camp in East Zaire Approximately 300 middle and high school students will participate in the 20th UVM Aiken/TASC (Technology And Science Connection) Challenges on Saturday, December 4, 2010. Two challenges focused on emergency preparedness were presented to schools in September:

  1. Create an emergency shelter.
  2. Create an emergency informational video.

Approximately 60 emergency shelters and 10 videos will be on exhibit in the tennis court area of the UVM Patrick Gym on Saturday, December 4 between 8:30 AM and 1:00 PM. Awards and prizes will be presented to school teams between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

  • For the Emergency Shelter challenge, each team will have 5 minutes to set up their ½ size emergency shelters in front of a crowd of spectators. Each shelter will be weighed, measured for packed volume, set up, and then subjected to a 2 minute on-site wind storm designed to 'blow it down.'
  • For the Emergency Informational Video, each team will create a 30-second or 60-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) or radio announcement that addresses emergency readiness and what items should be in every Vermont home for survival during an emergency.
  • Award categories include: IBM Overall Design Value, Pizzagalli Space Usability, General Dynamics Setup Speed, IEEE Packing Density, Husky Marketing, NRG Lightness, Dynapower Team Spirit, as well as Aiken Video Awards and Aiken Spectator’s Choice Awards.
  • "These challenges give middle and high school students the opportunity to work together in teams developing interdisciplinary strengths as they collaborate to solve these two challenges," says Bernard "Chip" Cole, Interim Dean of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. "They also align with our mission to promote engineering in service to humanity."

    This event is sponsored by The Aiken Lecture Series the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and approximately 60 Vermont businesses. Joining us will be the Vermont Army National Guard and The Vermont Refugee Settlement Program who will have an exhibit that includes survivors from disaster relief camps. For more information, visit the UVM Design TASC site.

    PM Classes Offered for Scouts in Engineering/Technology Knowledge Fair

    In conjunction with the UVM Aiken/TASC Challenges, a second program, Scouts in Engineering/Technology Knowledge Fair, provides middle school students with the opportunity to learn about architecture, computers, electricity, engineering, metals, photography, radio communications, riflery, and surveying. These introductory classes for students ages 12-17 are sponsored by the University of Vermont's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, General Dynamics, the Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scout Council of Vermont, and are held in conjunction with UVM Aiken/TASC on Saturday, December 4, 2010. Participating students will enjoy visiting Aiken/TASC, and then participate in afternoon sessions from 1 to 4 PM For more information visit:

      Participating Schools:

    • Bellows Free Academy, Fairfax
    • Browns River Middle School
    • Burlington High School
    • Champlain Valley Union HS
    • Enosburg Falls HS
    • Hanover HS
    • Lake Region Union HS
    • Middlebury HS
    • Milton HS
    • Missisquoi Valley Union HS
    • Mount Abraham HS
    • Mount Mansfield Union HS
    • River Valley Technical Center
    • Saint Johnsbury Academy
    • Sharon Academy
    • U32
    • Vermont Commons

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