Local business partnerships continue to help ignite a passion for STEAM. In March 2022, through a local business partnership with the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), incoming 8th grade students from Giles were able to go through a 6-week engineering project. NFPA sponsored the project by providing a kit for the students to build mechanical machines that lift blocks and are able to move them to a certain spot.
Ridgewood High School and Triton worked with the students from Giles to set up parameters for this hands-on competition. The students worked on this project in their science classes. First they had to create a portfolio and had to sketch their initial designs. The students had to be creative and use problem solving skills to complete the project, which resulted in them having to redesign their project.
“Students wouldn’t find these answers in a textbook. They are all trial and error,” said RHS Assistant Principal, Eric Lasky.
Local professional engineers came in to help the students with their project and then came back in to judge and look at the designs. Students received points for the different parts in the project and the overall efficiency of the final product and its ability to move the blocks.
There were 4 awards given to the students:
- Most Competition Board Points
- Most Creative Machine
- Best Looking Machine
- Best Portfolio
A few days after the competition took place, we held a Parent Showcase. At this showcase, we had a guest speaker from QCC come in and talk to the students and parents about different engineering careers and methods for paying for college.
We ended this 6-week program by having the winning groups compete in front of the Ridgewood High School Board of Education, which was then followed by a Q&A session.
We want to thank our local business partners, Triton, and QCC for their continuous support to the students of the Norridge/Harwood Heights community and we look forward to working with them more to give more students incredible opportunities like this one.