Irving Independent School District

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Brandenburg Elementary Wins National Competition

What do you get when you mix cardboard, popsicle sticks, water bottles, straws and 1,244 milk cartons? Ask the fifth grade gifted and talented students of Brandenburg Elementary School, and they would say – eight hand-crafted model airplanes.

After working hard all fall, their aviation project recently caught the eye of Evergreen Packaging, a global leader in beverage paperboard carton manufacturing. Students entered the company’s seventh annual Made by Milk Construction Contest and were named among its 2016 winners on January 4.

The group of 38 Brandenburg fifth-graders were one of 171 student teams to submit projects made mostly of repurposed milk and juice cartons for a chance to win up to $5,000. Their team, Up, Up and Away, constructed eight model aircrafts resembling planes made between the years 1905 to 1994 using 1,244 cartons collected by the entire school.

The idea for their creation came while studying force and motion in science class and delving into Newton’s laws of physics. With the contest theme being inventions, students researched and brought their curriculum to life in a creative blend of STEM, innovation, flight and design.

“Our students knew this was a national competition and only hard work and inspired ideas would pay off,” said Brandenburg teacher Grizelle Larriviel. Ms. Larriviel, whose former class also won Made by Milk’s People’s Choice Award in 2013, and co-teacher Irene Sosa are extremely proud of their students rallying together to accomplish such a challenge.

Brandenburg’s entry, titled Aviation Evolution 1905-1994, won in the elementary school category of 300+ cartoons, alongside Idlewild Elementary in Memphis, Tenn., and Kennesaw Elementary in Kennesaw, Ga. Each school will receive a monetary award of $1,000.

Overall, 14 schools were recognized as winners with Brandenburg being the only Texas school to win in over six categories. With the win, students hope to soon invite representatives from Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin and Boeing to view their planes and will attend Fort Worth’s C.R. Smith Museum this spring to participate in STEM workshops and see an actual Douglas DC–1 aircraft like the one they made by hand. 

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