Florida Engineering Society - Central Florida Chapter

 

Project CREATE

Program Description

Challenges


Project CREATE

Channel 6 Making A Difference segment aired June 20, 2012

1994 Channel 2 News Project CREATE Expo

 

About This Site:

This site was created to give children a place to showcase their accomplishments and provide fun and educational ways to interact with friends, relatives, and classmates. If you are aware of any other worthy projects, please email the information to dan@seewhatkidscando.com for possible inclusion.

 

Trivia Corner:

What is the tallest stone structure in the world?  Ans.: The Washington Monument

 

Feel free to use this new knowledge to impress friends and relatives! Have a trivia question? Email it to dan@seewhatkidscando.com. You might see it on this website.

 

Lesson Learned:

In the 1940s engineers built a bridge that later became known as Galloping Gertie. People who drove across it were getting seasick because it oscillated in the wind. This is a good example of engineers learning from their mistakes. Because of the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge failure shown in the link below, engineers learned how to prevent similar problems when designing future bridges. Sometimes it is necessary to make mistakes in order to learn what not to do. I like the fourth video in the link.https://www.google.com/search?q=tacoma+narrows+bridge+video&aq=1&oq=tacoma+Narrows&sugexp=chrome,mod=2&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

Feedback & Ideas:

Email your feedback and ideas on how to make this site cooler for kids to dan@seeewhatkidscando.com. If you prefer, you can also make comments by clicking the comments form above.

 

About The Website Author:

My name is Dan Morrical. I am a retired professional engineer. I have lived in the Tuscawilla subdivision in Winter Springs, Florida with my wife, Paula, for over 30 years. Our son, Jeff, graduated from Oviedo High School in 2000 and now works as an architect in Los Angeles, California.

 

The U.S. Engineering Shortage and How You Can Help:

Do you think U.S. students are competitive with students from other countries in engineering and science? If you are undecided, perhaps the following statistics will help:·China graduates five engineers to one in the US.· The U.S. is graduating 1 engineer for every 10 lawyers, while China graduates 10 engineers for every 1 lawyer.· China is already graduating over 1 million science, technology, and mathematics college students a year, while the United States graduates fewer than half that number. ·In discussing recent test scores, a December New York Times article titled, “U.S. Students Still Lag Globally in Math and Science Tests Show” stated: “In the United States, only 7 percent of students reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math, while 48 percent of eighth-graders in Singapore and 47 percent of eighth-graders in South Korea reached the advanced level. As those with superior math and science skills increasingly thrive in a global economy, the lag among American students could be a cause for concern.”The following statement from President Obama’s January 2012 State of the Union Address indicates his concern and understanding that we need more students to get excited about these subjects.“Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America's success. But if we want to win the future -- if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas -- then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”The US is falling behind other countries in producing engineers. We are failing to motivate our children to be engineers. That is because the adults the children look up to do not value engineering as much as they do in other countries. Kids in the US today who become engineers are often doing so in spite of this profession being viewed as not cool by their peers and not highly valued by adults. If we as adults in the US do not start reversing this current trend, we will leave our future generations to be dependent on other countries to build our cities, our highways, and our electronic communication networks. Many employers will tell you that even now they have to go overseas to look for potential employees with engineering degrees.So how do we reverse this current trend? I believe the answer is a simple one. We as a society need to value engineers more and recognize them as important to our future. We need to motivate our children to want to be an engineer in elementary schools. Engineers and scientists need to take time to be role models for our future generation and help them understand that these professions are cool. Kids should not have to feel like they will be outcasts or geeks if they are interested in math and science.Let’s make it easier and more rewarding for our kids to be able to pursue engineering and science. Let’s give them the role models they need to feel good about saying they want to be an engineer or scientist someday. Let’s encourage these pursuits, so our kids can feel proud to declare to their peers that they like math and science and would like to be an engineer or scientist someday. It is up to us as adults to reverse the current US trend away from engineering and science. If we fail, our children’s future may be very different from ours.Why are engineers so important to our future? ·It is the role of the engineer is to minimize the effects of damage on the surrounding ecosystems, and design necessary infrastructures that are both efficient and safe.·Engineering focuses on the development of infrastructure that serves a meaningful purpose for humankind.When asked why I chose engineering as a career. I reply that it was because I thought that engineering would allow me to help the most people because most professions only help one client or patient at a time while engineers have the opportunity to help an entire city with clean drinking water, an entire country with a space program, or an entire world by closing the hole in our ozone layer! Engineering is like society’s calcium. Just as calcium ensures healthy bones and teeth, engineering ensures a healthy and sustainable environment for humankind. This is pretty important stuff for our future generation. That is why when I see statistics like US students ranking 45th in math compared to other countries it scares me. I’m afraid the US is not motivating students to become engineers. Somewhere along the way we have failed to present engineering to students in a way that excites them and motivates them to want to be an engineer. We are slowly but surely losing our calcium in the US!So, why are engineers not valued as much in the US as in other countries? I’m afraid that we are not presenting engineering to students as a cool thing to do. They need more engineer role models that they can look up to. That is why I started Project CREATE 25 years ago. I believe that students in the 4th and 5th grades are at the age where we are able to show them how rewarding engineering can be in a fun non-threatening atmosphere.Project CREATE is not competitive. We at the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Engineering Society purposefully made it non-competitive, so each team can be proud of their own unique solution. The idea is to use team-building skills in a way that they can feel good about their role and build confidence in themselves and their abilities when they see what they are able to accomplish as a team. This is the reward, not a trophy.The goal of the Project CREATE team, therefore, is not to win a prize but instead to realize their self-worth by solving an engineering challenge, and at the end of the day be able to tell themselves that hey, maybe I can be an engineer. Project CREATE can be a real confidence builder for kids at a time when they are searching for who they can be.This is where you come in. Please contact me at dan@seewhatkidscando.com if you can contribute time or can suggest a funding source to help us expand this program in or beyond Central Florida.

 

About Project CREATE:

So, how can we make U.S. kids more competitive in today’s (and tomorrow’s) global marketplace? One answer is Project CREATE. Project CREATE is a 25-year old program in Orange and Seminole County elementary schools in Central Florida that stands for Creative Responses from Elementary Age ThinkErs. It shows fourth and fifth graders in a hands-on manner what engineers do. They get excited when they discover that they can use their problem-solving skills to come up with a solution to a real-life engineering challenge similar to those faced by engineers every day. The goal of Project CREATE is to start these kids thinking about a possible career in engineering.


Project CREATE has benefited Orange and Seminole County 4th and 5th-grade students since the engineers at the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Engineering (FES) started the program in 1988. These engineers, along with UCF and SCC engineering students, help and encourage each team and their teacher through the process. The teams chose one of three engineering challenges given to them by the engineers at the beginning of the school year. As they develop their own unique solution to the challenge they chose, they build their skills in research, problem-solving, design, model-building, and presentation of their unique solution.

The Project CREATE Expo

The students are rewarded for their efforts by the pride they feel when displaying their solutions during the Project CREATE Expo held at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando, Florida in late February or March. The engineers give the participating schools $125 to defray transportation and project materials costs. Twenty-three elementary schools participated in the 2013 Expo, which included 50 teams and about 500 students. The students also compete in events at the Expo, like the paper airplane throw and testing Popsicle stick bridges that they have built.

The Magic Game after the Expo

The Central Florida Chapter of FES also provides Project CREATE team members, their friends, and family with the opportunity to purchase discounted Magic tickets in advance for the game that night after the Expo. According to Nick Benedico, the engineer in charge of coordinating the ticket sales with the Magic and the schools, “In addition to seeing the Magic play the Charlotte Bobcats, some of the Project CREATE team members may have the opportunity to go out on court at half-time to be recognized by the announcer for their participation in Project CREATE.”

The Project CREATE Experience

One Orange County teacher who has guided over 900 students through Project CREATE had the following to say about it, “The students learned teamwork, effective public speaking, persistence in overcoming obstacles and achieving the desired end product as the result of calm, steady work.”

According to Debbie Gordon, a St. Mary Magdalen Elementary teacher whose student teams have participated in Project CREATE for 10 years, “Project CREATE is a good fit for Florida’s new addition to the Florida standards core curriculum, which calls for more project-based learning.”

The following are some of the students’ reflections on their Project CREATE experience:

·         “I think Project CREATE is one of the best projects you could think of. Kids are not as stupid as some people think. We have pretty bright ideas.”

·         “At first I thought it was going to be boring but when I really started, it was exciting!”

·         “It’s cool that we get to learn about very advanced things! It’s awesome!!!!”

·         “This was the most fun and inspiring time I’ve had in a long time, and I want it to stay like this forever.”

·         “Project CREATE was fun and it made me learn a lot about renewable energy. And it also made me think like an engineer.”

·         “Project CREATE was thee best thing that ever happened to me. I am with my friends, and it is so fun figuring out which doohicy goes to that thingimabooblit.”

This is a quote from Bill Shaffer, a news reporter for Channel 2 News, in a 1994 news segment on Project CREATE:

“It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel good about the youngsters growing up today.”

Get Involved

If your school is interested in participating in Project CREATE next year, send an email to dan@seewhatkidscando.com. The number of schools participating each year is limited by the funds available. Therefore, if you know of a possible funding source or would like to donate, please contact Dan at the above email address. We will also need a mentor for each team (an engineer or engineering college student) who will be a positive role model and encourage and help them as the students work through a solution to the engineering challenge they have chosen.