School runnings |

School runnings

Post Independent Photo/Kara K. PearsonAlex Klein, left, and J.J. Riddile, of Team Spain, bring up some snow as they barrel down a hill at Sunlight Mountain Resort in their cardboard bobsled Friday. Josh Alsop and Luke Maznio were also members of Team Spain, helping with the construction and design of the sled.

SUNLIGHT – One. Two. Three. Push – and they’re off. Riverside School’s Latvian Bobsled Team (in reality, three New Castle eighth-grade girls) screams down a snowy slope at the base of Sunlight Mountain for a finishing time of 16 seconds flat. The team’s time is good, but not good enough to win.It doesn’t matter. The girls who built and drove the sled had a good time anyway on Friday during Riverside’s eighth-grade bobsled race.Students applied what they learned in their math and physics classes this year to build aerodynamic bobsleds that would resist friction. Each group of students was assigned a country. Most of the sleds were decorated in the nation’s colors.”The whole side of our sled is Latvia’s flag,” Amber Lyons said.Lyons, along with her teammates Kelly West and Sophia Vidal, built the Latvia sled with a point at the front to make the sled more aerodynamic. They also taped wrapping-paper tubes to the bottom of the cardboard box they used to build their sled.”We thought it would be more like skis that way,” Lyons said. “But I should have cut the tubes shorter, I think. We were digging up snow with them, and I think it slowed us down.””The idea is for them to use what they’ve learned in order to build the fastest bobsled in the universe,” said science teacher Terri Hoffman, who was dressed as an alien so students could spot her at Friday’s race. Artistically competitiveIn the morning, the bobsled teams hiked to the top of their short race course, then hurtled themselves and their sleds – made of cardboard boxes and decorated with spray paint – downhill. That was the first round. In the afternoon, the finalists raced one another.When the kids return to classes after spring break next week, they will look at the times for all of the sleds (race results weren’t available) to try to determine why the winning sleds went faster than others. They will also write about what they would do differently if they could rebuild their sleds, Hoffman said.The former Carbondale Middle School teacher brought the bobsled project with her from Carbondale, where students have raced sleds for eight years.”It really has something for everyone,” Hoffman said. “Some of the kids who aren’t usually that interested in class are engaged here.”‘A great day for bobsledding’The project gives kids a chance to be artistic, competitive and do some problem-solving.”Some of the designs kids were teased about yesterday have been winning today,” Hoffman said on Friday.”I really liked to go fast in it,” said Michael Renteria, a member of Libya’s bobsledding team, which finished in 13.25 seconds.In addition to building the sleds, teams had to write about why they built their sleds the way they did. And when the project was finished, they watched “Cool Runnings,” a movie about the first Jamaican bobsled team.Like Jamaica, Friday was warm and sunny. “A great day for bobsledding,” Hoffman said.

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