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Chinook, Harlem FFA Mechanics Teams compete in the Judith Basin Spring District Contest


March 4, 2020

Zach Kinyon wires a switch at the Electrical Station, on of the rotations at the Mechanics Contest in Harlem on February 4.

The Chinook Chapter of the FFA and fourteen other schools in the Judith Basin district travelled to Harlem High School on Tuesday, February 4 to compete in the Judith Basin Spring District Contest.

In a report of their performance, Advisor Robin Allen shared that Chinook's Senior Mechanics Team-comprised of Ryan Meenely, Christopher Jungers, Ben LaVelle, and Rielly Weigand-placed sixth, Rielly Weigand captured ninth overall as an individual, and Landen Beck tried Agronomy for the first time.

Events like these help students develop technical knowledge and an ability to work with others to solve complex agricultural problems. The event is built around students learning and executing a "systems approach" – or the process of understanding how solving one problem influences others.

According to Allen, although this event is not an Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event (CDE) or a pathway requirement through the school's FFA program, it is one of the extended activities that student can participate in

The mechanics contest is an event on the Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development pathway.

Lisa Hamilton, Agriculture Instructor and FFA Advisor of the Harlem Chapter, served as the key organizer of the event.

Teams in this event consist of four students that solve a multi-system agricultural problem scenario. The team works to solve the problem and prepare a report while judges evaluate. Additionally, individuals complete a written exam that covers five agricultural technology and mechanical areas: compact equipment, electricity, environment and natural resources, machinery and equipment and structures.

Students and teams that perform the highest in this CDE demonstrate a mastery of systems areas subject matter, effective communication skills, superior problem-solving techniques and an understanding of modern technology.

The purpose Technological advances in America continue to influence the way students must prepare for their futures.

According to the FFA publication, the Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Handbook, "Students entering the workforce need a strong knowledge base and the ability to comprehend the interaction of complex systems. Employers want productive workers and managers that can access and use a broad range of information. The most sought after employees are those who communicate effectively, continue to stay current with modern technology and work successfully and effectively as individuals and as team members. Students with these skills and abilities are more competitive in the job market, receive financial rewards and are selected for advancement."

Each agricultural technology and mechanical systems activity is in response to a problem or need encountered in the workplace. The solving of such problems is dependent upon how each decision or solution, imposed on one component, will influence the other system components. Solving one component of a problem without using a 'systems approach' can, and often does, result in additional problems. An example of where this has occurred is observed in the many obstacles that agricultural producers currently face regarding environmental pollution, ground water contamination and stricter governmental regulations. Decisions and solutions made in the past 100 years have impacted the environment negatively and resulted in a new set of problems.

The contest rotations for the Mechanics contest will be as follows:

• Team Test - They will be working on a cost of production related problem, having to calculate the labor, materials, etc. For a variety of projects.

• Welding - Arc Welding and MIG, General Distributing will be new ESAB welder for the students to use as well as having the available for demonstration

• Electrical Circuits - We will have a few mock walls that will be wired with different circuits(three-way switch, breaker box, service pole, etc). There will be mistakes and questions concerning the wire job done. They will also need to be able to run a digital multimeter. Also they will complete a three-way switch.

• Construction - Building a small project utilizing basic woodworking skills, students will be running saws.

• Small engines - Students will be taking a basic skills test from the Briggs and Stratton textbooks, identifying some parts, and working a small troubleshooting problem.

Stanley Spangelo displays his work performed at the PVC/Plumbing station.

• Tool/Materials ID - Students will identify various pieces of equipment and also a variety of different woods

• Parts of the

• Tractor - More equipment will be identified later.

• GPS/Cut and Fill - I am not sure if it will be a cut/fill problem yet or GPS problem.

• Plumbing - We are making a mock bathroom and students will be responsible for identifying plumbing components and processes.

• General Test

Landen Beck, Ryan Meenely, Christopher Jungers, Ben LaVelle, and Rieley Weigand

Ben LaVelle fires up his torch as he prepares to do some soldering.

Christopher Jungers answers the judge's questions about a sprayer.

Having just completed his round of Tool Identification, Ryan Meenely


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