Future looks bright as Kootenay kids dream up innovations to promote accessibility

May 23rd, 2024

The Kootenay Contraption Contest, made possible by FortisBC and The Province of British Columbia, is excited to announce the winners of this year’s Kootenay Contraption Contest, an annual initiative that challenges Kootenay youth to dream big and design a contraption that solves a relevant problem using STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and innovation.

Throughout the month of February, Kindergarten to 8th grade students from across the region put on their thinking caps and used their creativity to solve the following challenge:

The year is 2050 and we live in a community where all people have equal access to opportunities. Design a contraption that promotes inclusivity and safety and enables children of all abilities to participate in various activities.

Think about how different abilities of peoples’ bodies (our five senses, use of our arms, legs, etc.) could be accounted for and supported if you were to play a game/sport/activity or do a specific task with them.

What contraption could support their comfort and/or ease with those actions?

This year KAST introduced Tinkercad 3D design software through numerous workshops in classrooms, Makerspaces in Nelson and Cranbrook, and the Idea Factory in Revelstoke reaching over 100 youth.

From a notation-to-speech music scanner for the piano, to elongating stairs and a new and improved sit-ski, our Kootenay youth proved their imaginations are limitless.

Students submitted illustrations, 3D designs, and photos of prototypes they had built using various materials. To continue exploring the world of 3D design with kids in your life, we recommend checking out Solidworks Apps for Kids.

FortisBC is a long-term Kootenay Contraption Contest sponsor.

Community and Indigenous Relations Liaison Jenn Datchkoff returned as a contraption judge.

“This year’s designers did an excellent job of considering the important topics of inclusivity and safety in their contraption’s design,” said Datchkoff.

“We saw such a wide variety of submission including athletic equipment, personal care tools, transportation options, accessibility infrastructure and more.

“It was a difficult season to judge but as always, a great way to spend an afternoon.”

KAST East Kootenay Coordinator Marie Bullock said about the program.

“The Kootenay Contraption Contest is open to students regardless of where or how they receive their education. This year’s theme was especially exciting for me because of how it introduces children to universal design.”

Participants at a TinkerCAD workshop that took place at the Revelstoke Idea Factory as part of the Kootenay Contraption Contest.

The Kootenay region has many resources available to help communities create. The Nelson Maker-Space in the Nelson District Youth Centre is a great resource where youth can learn and use 3D printers, electronics and robotics kits, and explore software design and coding.

The Cranbrook YXC Makerspace provides youth and adults with access to multiple different 3D printers, 3D scanners and laser cutters amongst other high-tech equipment.

The Revelstoke Idea Factory similarly provides a welcoming environment that provides access to robotics kits, 3D printers and other fabricating equipment.

“As an educator, I’ve seen the transformative power of the Kootenay Contraption Contest firsthand,” said Will Clack, the KAST Revelstoke Coordinator said about the contest.

“It’s an enriching experience for students. The contest was a perfect first exposure to STEM principles for the children involved.”

The Contest selects winners from categories combining two grades to reflect mixed classes in schools. Winning contraptions came from across the region in Winlaw, Rossland and Revelstoke.

This year’s winning overall contraption came from a Rossland sixth grader who created a spectrum-friendly hair salon chair.

View their 3D design along with all the winning contraptions at KCC 2024 – Winners Page.

KAST will continue to run the Kootenay Contraption Contest annually, and we are excited to see what Kootenay youth create next.

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com