Ted Harrison Grade 8 Students Win Beakerhead Ingenuity Challenge

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Reprinted from Calgary Board of Education blog.

Congratulations to Grade 8 students at Ted Harrison School on their award-winning submission to the Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge, an annual creative design competition that is part of Beakerhead. Beakerhead is a week-long smash-up of art, science and engineering.

Students from Ted Harrison won first-place for their project, “Light Juggler,” a stunning light painting combining the art and science of photography, light and optics. Their challenge was to take a large roll of aluminum foil to collaboratively design and build creative projects based on the theme “things are not what they seem.”

Jay Ingram, co-host of Discovery Channel’s science show, Daily Planet for 16 years, presented them with the Golden Beaker Award, and then spent time meeting with all of the design teams to discuss their creative processes.

To create “Light Juggler,” students thought carefully about Beakerhead’s mission to combine science, technology, and art. They engineered a globe of spinning foil, attached LEDs and glow-sticks, composed and framed the set, and adjusted the camera settings to achieve a long exposure capturing light in a darkened space. The student in the photo was then dressed in aluminum foil, and was photographed in a series of images and test shots. For each image, the ball was spun, and the student remained as still as possible as the photo was being taken. Multiple exposures were taken before achieving the one that would become “Light Juggler” – creating something beautiful out of something physically impossible, and therefore, not what it seems.

Grade 8 teachers viewed Beakerhead as an opportunity to kick-start the school year by inviting students to show curiosity and creativity in their learning. Through their Beakerhead experiences, and participation in the Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge, students appeared more confident in their abilities to explore and discover possibilities for learning that exist beyond the school walls. “Light Juggler” is evidence of the power of exploration, experimentation, and the freedom to create in an environment co-designed by teachers and students.

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