Middle schoolers take part in Smart Columbus Design Challenge

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The future of the Capital City could be in the hands of middle school students.

Smart Columbus, along with Metro Early College Schools, recently launched a Design Challenge, asking students to use their imaginations to reinvent mobility, and create a transportation system that provides access to opportunities for everyone. 

“Students have a list of problems, they have a list of starting articles to read about, and then they take that information, and then they create their solution,” said Science Educator and Design Challege Project Manager Erika Reeves.

About 75 teams of students from Metro Early College Middle School are participating in the challenge right now. Throughout the challenge, they will prepare a written component, build a prototype, then present their solution, using the Stanford Design Thinking Process.

“We decided to use that because it adds in empathy,” Reeves said. “We’ve really talked a lot in our classes about empathy, like, putting yourself in other people’s shoes in order to help create a solution, an authentic solution, for the problems that people have for transportation.” 

Students will present their solutions to a panel of judges from Battelle, The Ohio State University, Honda and Smart Columbus in January.

So far, Reeves, who is one of the in-house judges, is impressed with what she sees. 

“They’re 6th, 7th and 8th graders, and they get the opportunity to develop skills, and to be a real part of what their city is going to look like.”

The challenge is still open to any schools in Central Ohio that wish to participate. Click on the link below to register.

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