Written by: Scott Cook, P.E
At Environmental Design Group, we believe encouraging future generations to participate in the fields of science, mathematics and technology is vital to progressive change. Senior Project Engineer, Scott A. Cook recently mentored the Saints Philip and James School team that participated in the Northeast Ohio Genius Project competition. The Genius Project is a nine-week, hands-on design competition that is held for middle schools in Stark, Summit, Portage, Columbiana, Mahoning and Tuscarawas counties.
Students are faced with a theoretical situation that challenged team members to follow specific guidelines to achieve success. The competition requires and encourages the use of multiple academic standards including math, science, art and financial literacy while simultaneously inspiring creative thinking, team building and problem solving. At the end of the nine-week period, the Arts-in-Stark foundation hosted and sponsored a Genius “Rally” at the Cultural Center for the Arts in Canton, Ohio.
At the beginning of the nine weeks, the teams were each given a box of arts and crafts supplies and a set of instructions explaining the scenario and goals the teams were to achieve. The theme for this year’s challenge was for each team to envision themselves as a group of scientists that travel through a wormhole over the Bermuda Triangle to explore a newly discovered planet. Upon arrival, the team was to construct a geodesic dome for shelter against the elements and wildlife. The team was required to “explore” this new planet, make observations of the atmosphere, terrain, plant and animal life, and to record their observations in a log. The teams also created a unique animal they “discovered” as a combination of other animals in the biome. The teams made their geodesic domes, biome animals and other display items using only the arts and crafts materials provided in the box of supplies. The box also contained a materials budget where the students kept track of the supplies used and budget spent at the end of the project.
Approximately 32 schools displayed their projects to the public, interviewed with the judges and competed for awards of various categories. The student team from Saints Philip and James School won third place, overall. Environmental Design Group is proud to foster the development of bright minds and challenge all young people to pursue their passion and promote positive change in the world!