Think back to when you were a kid in school. What bugged you? A locker that was too small to fit your backpack? How about the stench that filled the hallways when students tackled their first dissections?
In conjunction with National Engineers Week (Feb. 17-23), manufacturing company Raytheon launched a contest on Facebook challenging kids in grades K-12 to solve the physical problems they face at school. Kids can pick anything (big or small) from their school life and describe how it could be redesigned to provide a better experience. Kids can win up to $2,000 for their classrooms.
Raytheon's Build It Better contest is part of the company's MathMovesU student outreach program, which encourage kids to consider science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
This is not a written essay contest. Entries must be in the form of a photo essay, video or detailed drawing, which opens up the contest to even the youngest students, as long as they have a willing parent with a camera. Raytheon will judge solutions based on creativity, effectiveness and whether the entry itself is both informative and entertaining. Contestants can upload entries to Raytheon's MathMovesU page on Facebook.
Nor is the contest reserved for advanced math students , a commonly held misperception about engineers that hampers the industry's efforts to recruit kids to the field.
"There is no one type of person who becomes an engineer," EngineerYourLife.org, a non-profit group dedicated to encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers, says on its site. "If you know kids who are creative, like collaborating with others, are curious and persistent, and like solving problems, then you know some potential engineers ."
Deadline for entries is April 19, 2013. (A parent or teacher must submit an entry on behalf of a student.) Raytheon will select 10 finalists. From May 1-17, Facebook users can vote on their favorites in order to determine the top three winners.