NASA Audio File

Kids Build Cardboard Bridges in 'Tons Of Bricks' Invention Challenge
12.14.09
 
The annual Invention Challenge held at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on Friday Dec. 11, drew more than 200 students and teachers representing 11 schools from throughout Southern California. This year's challenge was to build the most efficient cardboard or paper bridge capable of carrying several pounds of bricks. Crescenta Valley High School, La Crescenta, Calif., picked up top honors at the annual event.

TRT: 1:51

Paul MacNeal
Invention Challenge Founder

CUT 1 (:22) –MacNeal: All of a sudden it clicks, and they find out that there are practical applications for math, for there are practical applications physics, instead of going "Yuck" and sitting the back of the room all day long and saying “This is boring me to death”, they finally get to do some hands on, build something, destroy something, create something
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CUT 2 (:23) – MacNeal: The inventions challenge is a contest geared towards getting middle school & high school students involved in math science and hopefully engineering, Our real goal is to try and get them to get interested enough to pursue as a career or at least to go into college with an engineering degree. That really is my goal.
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Greg Neat
Crescenta Valley High School Teacher, La Crescent, Calif.

CUT 3 (:18) – Neat: With the inventions challenge the kids have to calculate a ratio between two masses. Now if you teach a kid in an Algebra class to convert from kilograms to pounds, first of all they are going to be bored and second of all they will not remember it tomorrow.
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CUT 4 (:19) – Neat: My goal was to teach kids how what they were learning in a classroom can be used to solve a real problem and in my opinion that’s what was missing from my education and so that was sort of my mission statement.
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Samuel Sampson, Invention Challenge Winner
Crescenta Valley High School Student, La Crescent, Calif.

CUT 5 (:14) – Samson: There are many transformations. I know I came into this class just kicked out of another school, and this class really saved me. It’s something you can dedicate yourself to and something that you really learned a lot from.
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CUT 6 (:17) – Samson: They were a lot of deadlines, a lot of times when prototypes had to be done and we came down to the last week we had to build both of our final designs within four days, have it done ,dried, glued all done by Friday, it was tough be we got it done.
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