UCSI students show elementary students that learning is a wild ride
UCSI students show elementary students that learning is a wild ride
Posted on 11/14/2018
High school student in carnival gear showing students how to use ride
Utica Center for Science and Industry (UCSI) students recently faced some of their toughest clients in a unique trade show showing the future of carnival rides.

The clients – UCS elementary students – used tickets issued at the trade show to select their favorite rides and provide feedback from among the nearly 30 possible attractions – all prototypes built and designed by UCSI students based on literature.

“I think it’s really cool,” said Ana Bugnar, a third grader at DeKeyser Elementary. “My favorite is the one where you throw something at a witch because I like to throw things.”

The trade show allowed UCSI students to become junior entrepreneurs to pitch new amusement park concepts to more than 60 elementary students.

UCSI teams worked together to create engineering designs of their concepts, working models of their rides and marketing materials to sell their ideas to young students.

Dylan Husken, a senior, was part of a team that created a game based on The Odyssey. Customers visited three different rooms with mini-games that were timed by sensors and based on the travels of main book’s main character, Odysseus.

“This really is about showing everything we have learned from the past four years at CSI,” he said.

The trade show was a cross-curricular project that combined English and math studies with the UCSI-specific curriculum of engineering technology, multi-media technology and mechatronics.

Each student team had to research and create a 3D model carnival ride based on a literature selection they had all read. Researching and calculating building specifications and safety limitations were part of the assignment, along with developing a prototype, a marketing plan and original promotional materials.

For the Odyssey project, Husken said the students in the engineering pathway were responsible for programming the sensors that ran each room on their attraction: a bean bag toss, a button “masher,” and a search and find challenge for a key ending the game. The multi-media students created the ride’s logo and made the ride visibly appealing to young customers.

Bognar, the elementary student who visited the trade show, said she enjoyed the show so much she is already thinking ahead nearly six years when she can enroll at CSI.

“I think this is really cool. It’s fun to create something new,” she said.

Her attitude was the kind of feedback Husken said his team was looking for when it created their project.

“In the end, it was really all about the kids having fun,” he said.