What Can U-Create?
Ms. Pereverzoff’s grade 6/7 U-Create elective is all about students taking an idea and creating a product, service or app that can be taken to the marketplace. This term, students were presented with the Re-Useable Material Challenge. Essentially, students were asked to think outside the box and create and represent a product idea using specific, recycled materials. Taking recycled cardboard, string, glue, tape, paint and recycled paper, students had the opportunity to create a product or a representation or model of a product idea. The final product idea didn’t have to necessarily include the aforementioned materials.
Students were then required to determine a target audience for their product, illustrate its features and benefits, cost of production and retail price, produce a brief marketing plan and finally create a 2 minute presentation to the class communicating their plan.
A grade 6 student decided that his product idea was going to literally stem from the re-useable materials presented. “One of my teachers, Mr. Dittmann, showed me a video of a man in Israel who created a cardboard bike to sell for 9 dollars.” He decided to take the idea and run with it, but with a twist.
The Israeli inventor targeted his product for developing countries. But the student saw a market for a similar bike here in Canada. “My target market is anyone who wants a cheap, environmentally conscious bike that stands out.” Needless to say, someone cruising by on a bicycle made out of receycled cardboard and string would certainly catch the eye. Plus, the bike would surely serve as an interesting conversation piece outside the neighbourhood coffee shop.
He took the re-useable materials part of the challenge quite literally. “My Mom’s friend is a gift wrapper and had a ton of cardboard tubes. She dropped them off at our house. My Dad got an elliptical for Christmas so I used the cardboard from the box.”
It took the student around 40 hours, spread over a month, to build his bike. The design and construction was not without its challenges, requiring some on-the-fly adjustments. “I was going to make it so it was a normal bike with 2 wheels, but to make the wheels turn properly I had to make it like a trike,” he explained.
As he went through the different stages of construction, the student nervously awaited the final test of his bike. “I thought the chain wasn’t going to turn the wheels but I put tape around it and it worked. The pedals turn the chain but the string chain isn’t quite strong enough. I would need a metal chain like the guy in Israel,” he concluded.
His bike certainly caught his classmates’ eyes. “The class was like ‘Woooooooah!’ People liked it,” he recollected. When asked what he plans to do with his recycled cardboard bike, he was quick to answer. “I’m going to show it to my friends. I’ll keep it in my bedroom. I’m not going to sell it.”