The Rainbow Unicorns team is practicing their presentation on their "No Bakey Shakey Blankie" invention before the time comes to present at Georgia Tech's K-12 InVenture Prize Competition in March. Prior to this, the entire City Park Girls STEP Club completed projects for consideration and presented them for a panel of guest judges earlier in February. The Rainbow Unicorns team was selected as the winner, and if selected a state winner at Georgia Tech, the group will go on to nationals in Washington, DC.
Each group had to choose a problem to solve by following the engineering design process related to their choice of fire, waste, health or food. The winning team consisted of students Andrea Hernandez (4th), Glendi Deleon (5th) and Jailyn Garcia (5th), along with their mentors Melea Wade and Judy Newman from Shaw Industries.
The team researched and found that more than 2,500 people die annually from house fires. Their "No Bakey Shakey Blankie" is an early fire notification tool that will beep loud noises, flash bright lights and vibrate to wake up a sleeping person when it detects a fire. The blanket is also flame retardant and could be used to escape a burning house.
Dr. Tim Scott, DPS superintendent, sat on the judges panel and said he and the other judges were impressed with the blanket's function and design. "We thought the product was practical and could realistically be used by consumers," he said. "Their product demonstration set them apart, too. We were able to see how the product would look and work, as they had a towel with wiring running through it and sensors to give an example. We were excited about their idea, and they did a wonderful job with their presentation."
Dr. Scott; City Park Principal Jason Brock; Dr. Marilyn Helms, Dalton State College dean of Wright School of Business; Deanna Mathis, Shaw Industries; and Tripp Phillips, creator of Le-Glue, listened to each group's idea and judged the projects on their practicality, design-based thinking, creativity, social responsibility, marketability and manufacturing.
Other projects included a food allergy awareness app, flu-prevention lip balm and a campaign to educate people about Type 2 diabetes.
Students like Isabel Perez from the Colorful Creators group enjoy being part of the girls STEP club because it helps them learn to research, work on a team and explore the world around them. "I like learning things about health. I learned that Hispanics are more prone to diabetes, and I didn't know that before," she explained. "We had to talk with a nurse and do a lot of research about diabetes until we got to where we are now. After that we decided to use cartoons to help people who speak other languages understand health issues like diabetes more easily."
The groups will use the judges' feedback to continue redesigning and adding to their presentations before the club's annual Innovation Showcase in May with their Shaw mentors. All of the projects will also be entered in the national competition called Paradigm Challenge in May.