Each year a group of 8th grade Moon Area Middle School (MAMS) students participate in a design challenge at WQED studios in Oakland. This year, however, the program expanded globally as each group partnered with an international school.
MAMS students worked with a school in India as part of the Design Squad Global, a program comprised of 30 middle school students sponsored by Mr. Frank Todd, Mr. Mark Jeffries, and Mrs. Julie Armstrong.
Design Squad Global members in the middle school meet during lunches on Wednesdays to tackle three engineering challenges: making an airplane out of paper, a spoon, tape, and paperclips; making a shoe out of sustainable products, and inventing a new product or improving an existing design. Students also had to create a virtual sales pitch for their product prior to attending the culminating event at the WQED studios in early March.
Through the global partnership portion of the program, MAMS students communicated via video conference with their counterparts in India who also completed the same set of challenges.
“The video conference was a valuable learning experience which gave them the opportunity to talk face-to-face with students that they had been communicating with through pictures and emails,” said co-sponsor, Mrs. Armstrong
Through iEARN, a website that translates communication, students were able to share their solutions for the challenges and inquire about life in another country, namely topics such as food and school.
"Students really enjoyed this project because it was hands-on and real world-based.,” said, Mrs. Armstrong. “They also loved the invention portion of the project because it allowed them to use creativity along with the engineering concepts they have been practicing all year.”
Participating students include: EJ Bogatay, Harrison Bruton, Vincent Colangelo, Logan Cordle, Anthony Daddi, Noah Driscoll, Savannah Ellis, Ben Fogle, Veda Gopal, Izzy Hall, Eli Helbus, Korina Hidey, Prem Jethway, Samia Jimenez, Ria Khazanchi, Melina Killmeyer, Angelina Kinest, Vinny Latino, Tara Manasterski, Matt Martin, Josh Maxeiner, Pari Patel, Luke Ramsey, Ethan Reynolds, Max Rolinson, Bennett Short, Aarav Surapaneni, Gage Therrien, Ariana Van Omar, Aaron Vreeland, and Alex Woolsey.