IDEAS Competition Leading Way For Advanced Technologies

As the development of advanced technologies accelerates, the need for high quality engineers will continue to grow faster than the available supply.  The challenges and opportunities could not be more exciting. 

The 2013 Industry, Design, Engineering, and Students (IDEAS) Competition for sponsored by Jacobs Technology and their partners Qualis and Bevilacqua attracted many area students. IDEAS 2013 has been an excellent venue for students to experiment with science, engineering, and design concepts for over 15 years in Okaloosa County. 

The primary purpose of the IDEAS competition is to expose students to the engineering methods and procedures used to develop a technical solution.  Participants experience first-hand, concept development, research, prototype development, test and evaluation, product improvement, and most importantly, the benefits of teamwork.  In some instances the students experience development of logistics and operations procedures.  Although this activity is competitive in nature, all students have the unique opportunity to explore their technical expertise and gain insight, which will be helpful in establishing career plans.

The IDEAS competition emphasizes students designing and building one of three projects to maximize efficiency, endurance, and strength.  These three concepts are as important today as ever in our fast paced world and the continuing work of engineers and scientists across the country are applying them in many unique and different ways to improve the quality of life and to preserve our planet.  Helping students grasp these concepts with hands on learning in designing, building, and competing their work builds knowledge and understanding of key processes that are being applied to real world problems and challenges today. 

The theme of this year’s competition was efficiency in design and its application and offered students the chance to compete in three different events: a bridge building competition, a mousetrap car, and a rubber band airplane. 

Competition represented four engineering disciplines: aerospace, civil, and mechanical engineering and technical drawing. 

  • The Aerospace Engineering event consisted of students building a rubber powered aircraft designed to achieve maximum time of flight. 
  • The Civil Engineering event required students to build a bridge from craft sticks designed to support a maximum load. 
  • The Mechanical Engineering required students to construct a land vehicle from a mousetrap designed to achieve maximum distance using the provided spring as the energy source. 
  • The Technical Drawing event consisted of a technical evaluation of the drawing or sketch each student submits for their airplane, bridge, or mousetrap car entry. 

“It was exciting to see Okaloosa County middle and high school students competing in the IDEAS Competition sponsored by the TEAS Team corporate sponsors, Jacobs Technology, Qualis Corporation, and Bevilacqua Research Corporation,” said School Board Member, Melissa Thrush.  “Competitions such as these enable students to apply academic lessons learned in the classroom to tangible projects.   Student built bridges may differ by only a few modifications but one design will be the winner.   Experiencing fear and failure is an important process in the progression of innovation.   Taking an initial concept or curiosity and devising a plan to bring that idea to fruition is difficult.   Sometimes an original design doesn’t perform as predicted so modifications or redesigns are made.   Once the design is determined, improving that design for efficiency is the end goal.   We see how innovation improves efficiency over and over again with products we use every day but have been around for decades;  television technology, communications from land lines to cellular service,  and wireless service,  light bulbs from electric, to fluorescent, to LEDs and nanotechnology enabling devices to be used in capacities we never would have imagined.   Without the financial support of these business sponsors many academic and extracurricular programs would not be possible in our local schools.   Programs such as the IDEAS Competition are vital in providing hands-on projects that engage and challenge students to use analytical problem solving and critical thinking skills.”

Team awards for first, second, and third place were also presented to the high schools whose teams demonstrate the best overall performance, based on a composite point system.  Individual awards were presented for first, second, and third place in each of the four disciplines. 


Fort Walton Beach, 1st place, $500  

Calvary Christian Academy, 2nd place, $250 check  

Choctaw 3rd place, $100 check