Inventing, Designing and Building

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Innovation was in the air at Rocky Point Middle School when eighth-grade students in Robert Ciaccio’s Technology Solutions course created cars powered by alternative sources of energy.

As part of a multifaceted unit of study, the students learned to use various tools in the classroom as they designed and built wooden cars. The vehicles were required to follow a specific theme, meet certain specifications and be constructed in a way that could be mass-produced. After assembling the cars, the students modified them to travel down a ramp at different speeds. 

Following the experiment, the students researched alternative sources of energy and developed solutions to move the car from the bottom to the top of the same ramp. Once they perfected their solutions, they tested them and rated each project based on the assignment requirements.

 “The focus of the course is problem-solving and studying the technology behind the technology we know today,” said Mr. Ciaccio. “Within the program, I challenge the students to think outside the box and develop new ways to meet problems and obstacles. They are not just creating something tangible, but developing skills that can be applied to everyday events.” 

Throughout the project, the students learned about the patent process and had the opportunity to mock patent their designs and alternative energy solutions, protecting their work from others.