Utica Center for Science and Industry students recently experienced the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
Nearly 30 teams staged a trade show, where students became junior entrepreneurs to pitch new amusement park concepts based on recent books they had read.
Teams worked together to create engineering designs of their concepts, working models of their rides and marketing materials to sell their ideas to investors.
"Teamwork was extremely important to our project," said student Joshua Bely.
Their coaster was based on The Alchemist, by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, about a young person's search for finding a treasure and the importance of realizing dreams. Their coaster represented the journey of the main character.
The trade show was the final showcase for a cross-curricular project that combined English, Algebra I, Algebra II and Pre-calculus with the UCSI-specific curriculum of engineering technology, multi-media technology and mechatronics.
Each student team had to research and create a 3D model amusement park ride based on a literature selection they had all read. Researching and calculating building specifications and safety limitations were part of the two-week assignment, along with developing a prototype, a marketing plan and original promotional materials.
The ideas were pitched to potential ‘investors’ (parents, business professionals and school staff).
Investors at the USCI event were asked to rate the presentations for Best in Show, Best 3D Model of Ride, Best Logo Design and Best Overall Visual Display.
Other projects at the event include a take on the Glass Castle, which featured a high rollercoaster and low rollercoaster reflected the "high and low" roads traveled by the main characters.
The projects were also assessed by classroom teachers in multiple areas including application of a literary theme, engineering elements, research skills, cost estimates, use of materials, visual display and overall knowledge and professionalism.