Students conquer design challenge

The mission: move a small plastic man from point A to point B.

The challenge: the small plastic man can’t be picked up and carried from point A to point B.

A hot air balloon

Youngsters and adults are intrigued by the hot air balloon powered by a hair dryer. Photo: Carol Winker

The solutions: ladders and bridges made of Popsicle sticks, ramps of cardboard and plywood painted to look like a roadway or a theme park slide, rockets, balloons and an airplane.

The participants: Students of North Side Primary School.

They combined science, art and social skills when they presented design challenge projects to parents, friends and judges from the Education Department and Ministry.

Mixed teams of fourth, fifth and sixth year students showed off the results of three weeks work on Thursday night in the school assembly hall.

One team built a catapult with a flexible plastic spoon and tried to send the plastic man into a basketball net.

Another team borrowed a hair dryer to fill a balloon.

Judges visited each group, talked with students and then awarded points for cleverness of design, how well the design achieved its objective and how well the team worked together.

Mr. Fred Speirs, Education Officer for Science, was impressed by students’ ingenuity and enthusiasm.

‘It’s not just what they did. It’s also the fact that they were confident enough to talk to strangers about it,’ he said.

Interaction between students and adults was highlighted again in the final activity of the evening – the great egg challenge. Teams had to make a structure that would suspend a fresh egg exactly one-half metre, or almost 20 inches, from the floor.

They were given newspapers, string, tape and scissors and allowed to choose two adults to work with them. The faster they finished, the more points they earned.

After a break to tally the points for all phases of the competition, Principal Philip Schofield highlighted the successes of every team and awarded every participant a prize.

The Great Design Challenge Cup was won by the team of Mariah Forbes, Kiernan Barnes, Starri Smith, Kendra Rankin Shanai Allen and Anthony Cranston.

Mr. Schofield said projects like the design challenge stimulated creativity and love of learning. He thanked the judges and other adults for the encouragement they gave students just by their presence.

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