It came down to a little improvisation and some creativity for two Skills Canada teams from Park Manor PS in Elmira as they claimed gold in the regional competition. The competition was a joint effort between the public and Catholic school boards, with students competing at Conestogo College Feb. 23. The school sent five teams to compete in five different categories including designing at catapult, Lego robots, Lego mechanics, constructing a desk organizer and film editing.
“The teams had a lot of fun building and competing against other schools, it really brought them together as friends and classmates,” said Betty Bouw, the school’s science teacher. It was in film editing and construction where the Grade 7 and 8 students from the school took top marks and walked away with the gold medals. In the film editing category, Grade 7 students Nathan Bowman and Nick Martin had to edit together a video about whether or not fighting should be allowed in hockey, showing both sides of the issue.
The boys had an older version of an editing program that would not accept the uploaded Skills Canada hockey clips and had to improvise using still images and recorded themselves speaking to the camera about how fighting affects the sport. With just four hours to complete the project, the boys were under a lot of pressure but managed to come up with a creative solution.
“We used a lot of comic relief in our video and used ourselves more in the video than actual NHL clips of the hockey fights because we felt it would add a personal touch to the video,” said Bowman. “We had to use what they gave us but what they gave us would not work on our computer so we had to think fast and came up with our idea to use ourselves instead of the clips and it worked out to our advantage.”
Across the hall, Grade 8 students David Minielly, Quentin Mayer, Cassie Martin and Mhari Reid were busy working on the construction of a desk organizer.
The team came up with the general design before the competition began. With five hours to build the organizer they were well on there way when it completely collapsed and they had to start over.
“We didn’t know we could bring our own cardboard, we thought that would be provided but it wasn’t and that was a bit of a struggle for us because we needed that for our design,” said Reid.
The team acted quickly and used the juice boxes from their lunches and a French duo-tang to act as a cardboard substitute.
“We had to work really well as a team, especially when it fell apart,” said Minielly. “We just knew what our strengths were, we didn’t get stressed out or started yelling at each other we just went to work and it turned out better than we originally had planned.”
The finished organizer was multi-layered, built with a docking station for a Blackberry playbook and contained two functional speakers.
“All the students were pretty independent with the training and came in quite a bit on their own time for a good month,” said Bouw. “These students are incredibly strong problem solvers and independent workers and they follow through well which showed with the results they achieved at the competition.”