The Pumpkin Drop is organized by the Education Alliance, a nonprofit organization working to create conditions of learning that benefit all children. They created the Pumpkin Drop in 1998 as an innovative way to directly engage West Virginia public school students in the learning process.
This event helps students K-12 develop team building skills and master concepts in mathematics and physics by putting their knowledge to use. The goal is to build an apparatus that will allow the pumpkin to withstand its fall from the top of the building and stay whole while landing as close to a designated target as possible. In the 10 year history of this event, thousands of pumpkins have been dropped off the State Capitol Building and more than 10,000 students have teamed to build successful apparatuses.
The competition provides a unique opportunity for elementary schools to compete in an academic setting with both middle schools and high schools. Pumpkins are judged by a team of engineering faculty from the Community and Technical College at Institute of Technology WVU, based on whether they stay intact and how close they land to the target.
A trophy and prizes are awarded for first, second and third-place schools with $100 going to the winning school and $50 and $25 going out to the second and third place schools respectively.
Past and present governors, legislators and other state employees enjoy this annual event and typically venture down to the capitol grounds to meet student participants. Bayer CropScience and Waste Management serve as sponsors for the event.