A group of St Philip students in grades 5-8 is participating in a unique program, Design Squad Global, which is being sponsored by WQED. Through this program, students will have the opportunity to partner and collaborate with students from a school in India through a digital platform. Participants in the US and India will complete the same four engineering challenges which will emphasize the design process to solve problems and highlight engineering as a powerful tool for making a difference in the world. Partner classes in India and the US then share their experiences by exchanging design ideas, photos, and videos. In addition to expanding their engineering experiences through fun-packed, high energy, hands-on activities, students will begin developing their “global competence”—the ability to communicate and collaborate with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Enhancing the real-life connection, volunteers from the Society of Engineers mentor the participants while completing the challenges in their schools.

The first challenge was to build an airplane using a teaspoon and paper that could travel down a zipline. The purpose was to teach the students about drag and how to overcome it to build planes that use less fuel.

Participants will also be asked to create an invention that will have a focus on environmental sustainability. The inventors will video tape a presentation of their innovations in a Shark Tank format for review by a panel of engineers at WQED.The project will culminate with an opportunity to team up with other Pittsburgh. Design Squad Global member schools to solve three challenges at the WQED studios, see presentations by the sponsoring Western Pennsylvania companies such as PPG, Ansys, Mine Safety Appliance, and have their inventions showcased.

The Design Squad Global project is co-sponsored by WQED, Pittsburgh engineering companies, and the Society of Engineers of Western Pennsylvania. The program seeks to introduce middle school students to the world of engineering by working on real-world engineering projects that are meaningful and socially relevant to communities around the world. They want kids begin to see themselves as young engineers with the power to make a difference. By introducing kids to the field at a young age, educators hope to help a new generation see engineering as a dynamic career path and an achievable goal. And whether kids ultimately pursue a STEM profession or another career, Design Squad Global helps them build confidence and develop resourcefulness.

Design Lives Here 2019