Bloomfield HS STEM Club works to generate electricity

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BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield High School hosted a STEM competition on Dec. 16, with eight high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics clubs invited. 

On the day of the meet, each team was given the same problem to solve: Provided with rudimentary material, including a tiny electric generator, a light bulb and a whiffle ball, construct an apparatus that would cause a falling object to generate enough electricity to light the bulb for at least three seconds. Instructions said the starting action to begin the process of lighting the bulb would be the release of the whiffle ball from a launching rig. 

The Bloomfield hands-on team consisted of Justin Lema, Ellis Gomez-McPherson, Chris Martinez, Arnaldo A. Guerra, Alanna Belevitch and Sophia Llanes. The club adviser is Michael Warholak.

In the Bloomfield attempt, the whiffle ball was directed down a channel by gravity. It hit a Styrofoam board on which a weight was precariously balanced. The weight was attached to a long string wound around an axel protruding from the generator. Once the ball jarred the board and the weight dropped, the unspooling string would crank the generator, causing the bulb to light. During numerous attempts prior to judging, the Bloomfield team came very close to succeeding but were usually stymied by the resistance of the Styrofoam board to the impact of the whiffle ball. At judging, the team did not fare well. But Warholak knew better.

“The possibility of any solution is failure,” he said. “That’s OK, so long as you learn from it.” 

Other Bloomfield STEM club members assisting at the meet were Vincent Russo, Jaylin Matias, Sofia M. Rojas, Adriana Donovski, Taylor Anthony, Sebastian Illescas and Amir Ghannam.

Photos by Daniel Jackovino