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The Tech Challenge

  • by Tiffany Strickland on April 20, 2013
    4,500 eggs will be flying through the air at The Tech Challenge this weekend. That is a lot of eggs! The Tech Challenge is a signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation. Each year we have a group of dedicated designers who put out a design challenge to anyone in grades 5 - 12. This year we challenged students to build a device that would launch sensitive instruments (eggs) to three areas of an asteroid.  We called the challenge Asteroids Rock!
    I have been working as the Director of The Tech Challenge since august and I am often asked what is the one thing that you love about the challenge. I always say the accessibility. 41% of the teams come from underserved, low income areas. Most of our students who participate would never fathom designing something using real engineering principles. Engineering and Science careers are professions that many think are well beyond their reach or ability. When they participate in The Tech Challenge and go through the Engineering Design Process their world gets a bit bigger they start to think of themselves as innovators and things aren’t so much out of reach anymore.
    I was talking with a elementary school principal this week, all of her 5th graders participate in the challenge, she was telling me that a student told her that The Tech Challenge brought her family together.  Working on The Tech Challenge device is the first time ever her family has done anything together. She told her principal that she had never heard her dad tell her good job before they worked on the catapult together. The principal was in tears as she told me how this project impacted the students life. That is why I love The Tech Challenge and am so honored to share the vision with companies like Cisco, EMC and many more who make it possible to inspire the innovator in everyone. 
    This weekend thousands of students will think they are designers and innovators. They will all get to meet real engineers and hopefully learn that anything they can imagine is within their reach.