ShareThis Page
North Hills

Seventh-graders design science carts for elementary students

| Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, 5:03 p.m.
William Retsch, 12, a seventh grader at Hampton Middle School,  shows judge Josh Lucas of WorkHard Pittsburgh a miniature Thunderbolt, the mobile cart designed by Retsch’s classmates and their make-believe company, Lighting Inc.
Deborah Deasy | For the Tribune-Review
William Retsch, 12, a seventh grader at Hampton Middle School, shows judge Josh Lucas of WorkHard Pittsburgh a miniature Thunderbolt, the mobile cart designed by Retsch’s classmates and their make-believe company, Lighting Inc.
Hampton Middle School student Lindsay Liebro, 12,  shows judges a miniature model of her team’s proposed cart to carry Chromebooks, Bee-bots, Makey Makeys and other technology to classrooms in  Hampton School District’s three elementary schools. Four teams of seventh graders spent weeks designing carts as part of a classroom competition supervised by Glenn Geary, technology education teacher at the middle school.
Deborah Deasy | For the Tribune-Review
Hampton Middle School student Lindsay Liebro, 12, shows judges a miniature model of her team’s proposed cart to carry Chromebooks, Bee-bots, Makey Makeys and other technology to classrooms in Hampton School District’s three elementary schools. Four teams of seventh graders spent weeks designing carts as part of a classroom competition supervised by Glenn Geary, technology education teacher at the middle school.

Team by team, 50 Hampton seventh-graders recently pitched their competing blueprints for a rolling cupboard of educational aids.

Their assignment: Design a cart to carry today's tools for STEM learning — the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math — in Hampton Township's three elementary schools.

“We are Spark Engineering — lighting your world on fire one idea at a time,” Mia Conte, 13, told the 15 judges who ultimately chose her team's cart design for production.

Later this year, Hampton High School students will manufacture three of Spark Engineering's mobile carts — dubbed Tech Eddies — for use in Wyland, Poff and Central elementary schools.

As part of their product development, Mia's classmates computed each Tech Eddie's production cost: $235.

To boost their cart's child appeal, Mia's teammates proposed to coat each Tech Eddie with chalkboard paint.

The carts are being designed and manufactured by Hampton Middle and High School students for use in the elementary schools as part of a $20,000 grant coordinated by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Center for Creativity, school officials said. Funding came from Chevron, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the Grable Foundation.

Glenn Geary, technology education teacher at Hampton Middle School, supervised the seventh-graders' weeks of data gathering, measurement taking, cost estimating and cart designing that preceded each team's 15-minute presentation to judges Oct. 13 at the middle school.

“Please don't be nervous,” Marlynn Lux, acting principal of Hampton Middle School, urged the presenters.

“We're excited to hear you” said Lux, one of 15 Hampton administrators, teachers and business people who judged the proposed cart designs and oral presentations.

Each team also showed judges a miniature model of its proposed STEM cart.

The seventh-graders' assignment also challenged each team to develop a logo and slogan for the cart production company.

About a dozen students worked on each team as part of their technology education class, a required course for seventh-graders in the district.

Judges included Josh Lucas, of WorkHard Pittsburgh, Mike Capsembelis, of Google, and E.J. Prosser, of Modany Falcone.

Lightning Inc., one of the competing teams, dubbed its mobile cart The Thunderbolt.

Another team of seventh-graders called their cart-making firm Sky High Engineering.

“We knew we wanted to go above and beyond,” said seventh-grader Alex Kramer, 13.

North Star Engineering, another team, also competed in the cart contest.

“When you want to get where you're going, rely on North Star Engineering guiding you to success,” Zach Krills, 13, said, introducing his team's make-believe design firm.

We have 13 hard-working employees,” Adam Mitchell, 12, told the panel of judges.

Following each team's presentation, judges struggled to pick a clear winner.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Jackie Removcik, curriculum director, told the teams. “Every group had strengths.”

Technology education teacher Geary said he probably learned more than his students from their collective assignment.

“You truly did an amazing job,” he told them, “I was flabbergasted. ... Thanks for all your work.”

Deborah Deasy is a Tribune- Review staff writer. Reach her at ddeasy@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me