More than 150 students from across Orange County have virtually exhibited over 60 STEM-based designs demonstrating creativity and ingenuity at this year’s ocMaker Challenge.
Organized by OCDE’s Career Education unit, the annual event draws hundreds of elementary, middle and high school students each year who are eager to show off their creative inventions and compete for a variety of awards determined by panels of industry professionals. Challenge teams begin as early as October, collaborating, designing and building prototypes with varying degrees of difficulty.
Typically showcased via a live exhibit at Chapman University, this year’s student projects and videos are on display for the public on the ocMaker Challenge website. And, although student participation was completely virtual, OCDE College and Career Readiness Coordinator Alita M. Salazar says that didn’t stop the entries from coming in.
“Working remotely did not hinder our future engineers and creative thinkers here in Orange County,” said Salazar. “Student teams persevered in a challenging learning environment. They collaborated and designed through virtual meetings, ideating solutions and producing prototypes worthy of being on next season’s ‘Shark Tank.’”
This year’s top teams were presented with special honors during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, May 20. Students took home awards based on their division levels, and three special awards were presented for the “Most Innovative,” “Most Socially Conscious” and “Tooling/Fabrication/3D Print.”
Project winners included teams that invented products such as a “KeyTrain” for misplaced keys, a litter-eating robot called “COPR the Combuster” and the “Silent Dragon,” a solution to solve interruptions using sound beaming technology.