April 2012

  • Super Launcher Challenge

    April 25, 2012
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    Student Reflections - April 24, 2012

    This was actually my first innovation challenge, but I now regret not coming sooner. The challenge this week was to get a ping pong ball through a suspended hoop. Using the materials provided, the team I was on made a tower that acted as a sling shot. Although we did not win, we came close and still had a lot of fun. What I like most about the challenge was getting to work with my hands and actually create something. I was able to see the idea our team had manifest and function. That was a really cool moment for me and I am glad I was able to participate. The other thing I liked was all of the different designs. It was interesting to see how the groups took such different approaches. Some of the designs never even crossed my mind when building my own. Overall this week was a great experience and I look forward to competing again next week!

    - Jeff Meyer



    The challenge today was very exciting to take part in! We had to launch a ping-pong ball into a hula-hoop that was suspended from the Rotunda. At first we tried to use a slingshot to launch the ball, but found it to be too inaccurate and often times the path of the ball did not have enough arc. As time ran out we began brainstorming for a new idea. We thought about how cap guns work. We used this idea for our final launching device. We took a paper towel tube and placed the ball on one end. We forced a wooden stick into the opposite end and hit the ball out of the tube. This was not successful however; therefore we used more force behind it. This resulted in the stick being launched out of the tube as well! This was a mistake on our part, but the ball flew through the hoop. Due to our mistake we found success! Because we were not afraid to fail, we found a method that was pretty accurate. Even though during the actual trail we did not succeed, we learned not to be scared of failure because you learn more that way. This challenge was awesome!!!

    - Kendra Patton



    The catapult challenge was very difficult in the many variables there were for each shot. If your catapult wasn’t aimed correctly or if there was too much tension, then the ball would sail past the hoop. Our team practiced plenty of attempts before we went for our final five runs, however we practiced with only one contraption each time. In the interest of time we never experimented with different launching devices, which definitely contributed to our 0 out 5 shot results. If we would have tried different devices we could have come up with one that would have possibly been more reliable than our method. Another interesting thing was that there was no limit to resources available but instead of that being helpful it actually contributed to wasting some of our team’s precious time. We talked about different things we could use and spent about 10-15 minutes discussing when in reality we should have just been building and testing. However, it was a very fun experience overall!

    Gregory Keogh

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  • Student Desk Challenge

    April 18, 2012
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    Student Reflection - April 17, 2012

    TreeDesk

    This week’s challenge brought innovation right to our doorstep: designing a desk that would be used by our classmates in their college dorms.  Key things to think about while building our prototype were cool design, practical use, and efficient use of space.  It turns out that the winning team made a fold-up desk that hung from the wall, a design that focused on these important concepts as well. Even though our design did not win, we realized from this challenge that we can still move forward with an idea if we are excited about it.  Our desk, a fold-up tree with collapsible and movable leaves as the shelves, is one we were really proud of.  As a result, we  went on to draw this picture, and we hope to make a more exact prototype in the future based off the challenge.

    Winning reflection - Emily Hart

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  • Secure Code Transmission Challenge

    April 11, 2012
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    Student Reflection - April 11, 2012

    In today’s challenge, we had to design an encrypted code for numbers and letters using only a flashlight, markers and a clear piece of plastic. Our group took the markers and colored in pieces of paper and cycled through the ABC’s by 5’s with flashing clicks from the flashlight. We used the clear piece of plastic with flashing clicks for the numbers.  It was a ton of fun and really got our brains working. I loved how everyone gets mixed with different majors with how the minds think differently.  Our team was very successful and made one minor mistake in our entire code, so unfortunately, we did not win. Most groups had multiple mistakes, so I feel our group did very well.  We did this even with traffic of people crossing our paths. 

    Winning Reflection - Jeffrey Newberry

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  • Outsourcing - Planner/Builder

    April 4, 2012
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    Student Reflection - April 04, 2012

    In today’s challenge, there were two planners and one builder working on a Lego assembly without any verbal communication. As a planner, I felt I had a huge job to take on because my instructions had to be clear and simple. I made sure there were pictures as well as some written instructions to explain how to assemble each Lego correctly. For the more difficult parts we drew out each step, trying to show how all the pieces fit together. For one assembly however, we wrote it in a story format. Surprisingly, this proved to be the most successful because it was easiest to follow. This challenge proved to be difficult because everyone interprets instructions differently.

    Through this challenge, I learned sometimes simple instructions are the most effective and easiest to interpret. I also learned without verbal communication every step has to be more precise. The detail is more important because the planners are not there to tell the builder what they are doing wrong. Overall, the challenge was a great learning experience and fun to be a part of.

    Winning reflection — Kendra Patton


     

    The competition today was an interesting experience. The two designated planners of the team had to make very effective instructions for the builder to use.  The builder was able to go out and have lunch while they made their instructions, which is a nice plus to the challenge today.  The builder, who had to build with only the given instructions was challenged with understanding the instructions without communicating directly with the planners.  

    This was certainly a good experience that students may likely relate to their future jobs.  Often the only mode of communication in many industries is the procedures and/or notes that are given.  Hopefully this experience will emphasize the importance of clear communication.

    Mark Reed

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