Fayetteville PK-8 Students Compete in School’s First Pumpkin Drop

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va (WOAY) – Watching pumpkins drop from 50 feet was quite the thrill for the elementary and middle school students at Fayetteville PK-8. However, what they really wanted to see was if the protective layers they designed and built survived the fall.

For the younger students, they could use any size pumpkin with no restrictions on the protection either. For the 5th through 8th graders, there were certain guidelines with size and weight because a trip to Charleston was on the line. 

“We’ll have three groups that will win here today and they will go participate in the Bridge Valley Annual Pumpkin Drop and they will compete with schools from all over the state of West Virginia,” Stephanie Shrewsberry, a 1st grade teacher and the organizer of the drop, said. 

However, it wasn’t just about math and engineering. The protective shield for the pumpkin had to be designed with recyclable materials adding an environmental science component. 

“And so if you’re using those recyclable materials, we’re not making a bunch of trash and a bunch of waste. We’re actually putting them where they need to go and you’re utilizing them for another purpose,” Cliff Sullivan, a STEM teacher said. 

And not only was it fun for students, but they also got a collaborative experience working in groups and as a class. 

“Working together is a really good thing,” Kelsey, a 4th grader, said. “Sometimes you can accomplish different things. You just never know what you’re going to come up with.”  

And even though most of the pumpkins did not survive the drop. it still made everyone think outside of the box.  

“I mean even if it’s a total failure and it explodes, they’re having a good time and now they know through the engineering design process that they need to go back to the drawing board and try something different and see if that works,” Sullivan said. 

The three groups who won will go on to Charleston to compete on October 17th.

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.