Two teams from Gunn High School brainstormed on green technologies and efficient transportation to place in the top 10 in problem-solving in a nationwide student engineering competition in Washington, D.C.
Juniors and seniors from Gunn's Research Science & Invention Club won fourth place in the problem solving category, while the freshman-and-sophomore team grabbed eighth place in writing and tenth in problem solving.
Two other Bay Area teams -- from Mission San Jose High School and The Harker School -- placed third and fourth respectively in the "best in nation" category. First place for "best in nation" went to West Senior High School in Iowa City, Iowa.
The national Technology Student Association sponsors the annual contest in math, science and engineering, which took place June 27 to July 1 and had a theme this year of "Engineering Tomorrow's Cities." The association has 180,000 middle school and high school members in 2,000 secondary schools spanning 48 states.
Gunn team members spent countless hours drilling physics concepts and teamwork strategies, said Anne Ku, co-president of the Research Science & Invention Club.
"Although the competition had some unexpected twists, we had worked together as teams beforehand and were able to come up with new solutions to intriguing problems," Ku said.
Students in the contest pitched ideas on how to make green technologies more competitive and presented concepts for more efficient transportation systems. In the problem-solving section, they designed and constructed a weight-bearing structure out of paper and tackled physics problems. The freshman-and-sophomore team penned an essay on the pros and cons of fracking in the United States.
"Here in the Silicon Valley we're in the middle of a lot of cutting-edge technology," team member Grace Park said. "At nationals, I got the chance to talk with teams from all over the nation with the same dedication to science and technology."
In addition to Ku and Park, Gunn team members were Justin Yang, Jackie Lou, Gloria Pan, Audrey Cheng, Kseniya Malukhina, Andrew Schloss, Simon Rufer, David Zou, Ken Noh, Alex Wong, Brian Hill, Sharon Chen, Ethan Kau and Andrew Ku. Team coaches were Bill Lou and Licen Xu.