A team of Woodhull Intermediate School fifth graders in the Huntington School District’s SEARCH program captured honorable mention recognition in the Toshiba ExploraVision contest, which drew entries from K-12 students across the United States and Canada.
“Students work in teams of two-to-four to think of an idea that could solve a real world problem and then research how technology could help to solve that problem in the future, as well as what current technology already exists,” explained Huntington SEARCH teacher Jessica Risalvato.
SEARCH teacher Jessica Risalvato.
Every fifth grader in the SEARCH (Scholastic Enrichment and Resource for Children in Huntington) program at Woodhull and Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School competed in the upper elementary grades (4-6) category of the contest and submitted 11 projects in all.
“Each group submitted a lengthy document that included an abstract, the present technology related to their idea, the history of the technology, a description of their idea, ideas of scientific breakthroughs that need to happen in the future for their idea to work, three alternative ideas/features they considered for their project, the positive and negative consequences of their idea, a bibliography and five sample webpages which they made via Google Sites,” Ms. Risalvato said.
Woodhull’s award winning team consisted of fifth graders Lauren Donaghy, Emily Kustera, Tess Markotsis and Anne Tyrrell. “Their idea is called The Vibrating Guide,” Ms. Risalvato said. “Its purpose is to help blind and deaf people walk around safely and easily.”
The Vibrating Guide is a 3D vibrating disk made of carbon fiber that has a GPS, scanner, camera and arrows, all of which would conceivably help a person who is blind and deaf to walk around. There is also an app that comes with that allows family members to track the person using The Vibrating Guide in real time.
Family members are also able to control The Vibrating Guide through the app so that they can assist the person using it get to where they need to go. “It’s shaped like a donut so that it can be held with either one or two hands through the middle and will vibrate in the direction you need to go, based on the address that was put into the GPS,” Ms. Risalvato said. “It also lights up to alert nearby individuals that the person using The Vibrating Guide is deaf or blind or both.”
The four fifth graders who developed the project are all impressive youngsters. “Lauren, Emily, Tess, and Anne are extremely hardworking students,” Ms. Risalvato said. “They were able to take their idea and really expand on it throughout the two months we worked on the Toshiba ExploraVision competition. They also worked really well together. Each girl worked on a part of the project and then they came together to edit and revise their work at the end, and I think this contributed to their success. I’m so proud of them!”