Students Showcase Problem-Solving Prowess at Academic Bowl
Teams from Maus Middle School in the Frisco ISD and Barbara Bush Middle School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD faced off in an engineering design challenge at the African American Male Academic Bowl at UT Dallas.
The assignment: build a race car.
The materials: four CDs, two pencils, rubber bands, boxes and tape.
Teams of students in grades six through eight met the 30-minute challenge, part of the “Aiming for the Stars” African American Male Academic Bowl held annually at UT Dallas.
Members of the winning team from Barbara Bush Middle School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District cheered as their car zoomed past the others to cross the finish line first.
“The young men on the Maus teams have learned about themselves and others, as well as the importance of teamwork, accountability and sportsmanship. Most of all, these young men have developed a sense of camaraderie that will last a lifetime.”
The race car engineering challenge and a math competition were two new categories at this year’s event, held Jan. 27 at the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center. A team of eighth-grade students from Maus Middle School in the Frisco Independent School District emerged as the day’s overall winner. The Murphy Achievers, a group of students from schools in the Plano Independent School District, took first place in the math division.
David Robinson Jr., assistant director of community engagement at UT Dallas and founder of the event, said organizers added the engineering and math competitions to the traditional academic quiz-bowl contest to give students a broader range of academic challenges.
“We wanted to revise the bowl in a way that would test students in various areas in addition to the memorization of facts that the academic bowl allows. With the addition of engineering design and math competitions, I believe we have done that,” Robinson said. “It also makes coaches teach teamwork and strategy in a different way than in the past. We also want to create a culture that assists in the development of well-rounded students.”
UT Dallas’ Office of Diversity and Community Engagement hosted the academic competition, partnering with AT&T, the Dallas County Community College District, Project Still I Rise Inc., Texas Sen. Royce West and the local chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.
The event is designed to inspire a passion for learning, provide information and allow participants to build relationships that can contribute to their academic success.
The event featured speeches by guests including UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson and Dr. Joe May, chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District.
Lesley Roane, librarian and academic bowl coach at Maus Middle School, said the students enjoyed the new math and engineering challenges, but the “Jeopardy!”-style quiz bowl was still their favorite part. The school sent several teams to the event, with three taking the top prizes in the quiz bowl segment of the competition.
Roane said students spent their lunch breaks practicing.
“The young men on the Maus teams have learned about themselves and others, as well as the importance of teamwork, accountability and sportsmanship,” Roane said. “Most of all, these young men have developed a sense of camaraderie that will last a lifetime.”
From left: Xavier Brewington, Wade Dennis and Nate Malone, members of the Murphy Achievers team, test their knowledge during a quiz bowl round at the African American Male Academic Bowl.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].