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Hacking Challenge for MIT trip 2020

Leman International School (LIS) has been invited for the second time to participate in the Nord Anglia Education (NAE) Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts & Maths (STEAM) Week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA from March 29th to April 4th, a full week of workshops and activities delivered by leading MIT professors and students. Students will also have a chance to tour at MIT and Harvard University. It is open to Grades 5 and 6 students of selected NAE schools around the world.

Since the trip is only open to four participants from each school, LIS students were given a Challenge Activity as part of the selection process. Each student was given an old keyboard and a telephone that they need to hack for 2 periods (80 minutes). The Challenge Activity is similar to MIT’s Hack the Tube Challenge. “Hacking is a long-standing tradition at MIT and an integral part of its culture. It can be defined as the implementation of harmless pranks, tricks, and creative inventions that demonstrate ingenuity and cleverness!”

Here are the four students who successfully demonstrated the ability to think critically “outside the box” and came up with ideas that are unique and connected it to the real problems we are facing that will help the world.

  1. Ho Yun Chen, Grade 5
  2. Xi Man Xu (Judy), Grade 6
  3. Pei Yao Hou (Mia), Grade 6
  4. Devlin James Wong, Grade 6

Let’s see what they have to say!

Ho Yun Chen, Grade 5

During the hacking challenge every competitor got a keyboard and a telephone with number pads. Before the challenge we got a list of criteria of what we should think of while creating our projects because at the end, we would have to present our items to the judges and explain how we made it or thought of the idea.

First, I saw the telephone and wanted to use the number pads to make a futuristic doorbell so I had to break open telephone pad with a bunch of buttons. I tried to crack the telephone but couldn’t because I found out there was a huge pipe that was holding the two pieces together. I was really frustrated, so I just randomly cracked open the keyboard and found a squishy material that was really satisfying to squish. I thought " what if I turned this into my project?"  So I got a wooden board and stuck the squishy material onto the board with hot glue which looked really good because it was transparent, just like the squishy material. After that, I still had almost 10 minutes left, so decided to add some color paper to fill up the space that the squishy material didn’t cover.  In the last 3 minutes I made a text called "1.0" using sticks and paper which stands for " stress reliever 1.0".

Overall, this challenge was a great learning experience and also really fun, especially smashing keyboards with hammers and screwdrivers. Even if I didn’t get chosen, it was still very worth my time. I wish I could get another chance to do this or something similar again next year.

Pei Yao Hou (Mia), Grade 6

In our school we have hosted a hacking challenge where students from 5-6 grades gather together in our STEAM room. The teachers first showed us a PowerPoint about this hacking challenge. We have hosted this event for two years now.

This year, 15 students competed against each other as competitors but helped each other as schoolmates. I enjoyed the time we spent together.

Topic: Hacking a set of keyboard and a telephone

First, we had to make a design of our prototype. After I asked teachers and school mates about how I might improve and do better from this design, I only had 20 minutes to make my prototype. I was not worried about the time. The teacher had said if you do well on your design and presentation the prototype can just be a simple example of it.

For example:

A model of a car does not have a real engine and all those details on the inside, right?
My design was called Every Key. As a hypothesis, I estimated that I would not finish the prototype in time but finish my design in details.

Every Key

This name may sound lame but it has a lot of uses. The main purpose of it is to help individuals with disabilities, like those who are colour blind, deaf, mute, or blind.

Both my aunt and uncle are disabled, so that’s why I chose this design.

Xi Man Xu (Judy), Grade 6

In the morning of November 28th, 2019, participants that are interested in the MIT STEAM week gathered around the Steam Room to decide which 4 students are going to participate in the MIT trip. My name is Judy Xu, Year 7 student studying in Leman International School Chengdu (one of the participants).

There were 15 people in total, which means I have 1/15 of chance to get picked. I was so nervous I can feel the blood flooding over my face. Every participant was given an old keyboard and telephone to transfer into a daily product. I didn’t have any idea; my creative brain is expired! I just sat there worried if I didn’t have anything done, then my friend said something about Atari Breakout. 'BOOM’ ideas were literally flooding me. I thought of building the game Atari Breakout, but I thought that would have no actual use except it’s fun. Then I thought about an Atari Breakout handbag. YES, that is the one! My concept was to build a bag that contains an Atari Breakout game on the outside. The purpose of this was to prevent children leaving their mother while the mother is shopping. SEE, this I had the experience before, when my parents were shopping...HOLY, I was bored! And when kids are bored accidents might happen, they might leave and not find their way back! So, this bag can hold things and entertain kids, preventing accidents to happen.

Then, I took action I started by removing parts of the keyboard and telephone. After at least 1 hour of hard work, I was done! But that meant the scariest thing is coming closer and closer, which is the...PRESENTATION! Each participant has 2 minutes to present their work, I was literally the second one, so I had to be prepared.

I felt so nervous that I was dizzy, as I really want to participate in this activity. So, when it was my turn, I took a deep breath and zoomed into the classroom. After around 2 minutes of brain blank, I was done. I felt relieved but at the same time stressed, because I didn’t know if I was going to get picked or be weeded out.

WELL! I was picked. YAY!! I was so happy I almost blacked out. Luckily, I controlled myself! Thank you, teachers, for picking me! Got to tell you...you picked the right person! Overall, this was a great experience and I gained more knowledge, IM READY!

Devlin James Wong, Grade 6

Before receiving the materials I had to work with, I thought that we were surely going to use toilet rolls, metal cans, paper, cereal boxes and plastic bottles. I felt more comfortable using these recyclable items because I had used them before when I was younger, but when I was told that we had to use computers and phones, I freaked out. Suddenly, everyone around me went to work, unscrewing things, breaking things, taping parts together and I just sat there thinking how I could use these materials. I wanted to use both the phone and the keyboard, but I didn’t know what to create with the phone. Time was running out, so I decided to go with my first option, the vacuum. When I signed up to try to go to MIT, my dad told me that my creation should help improve people’s lives, so I made my vacuum able to help the environment.

I first got a long piece of cardboard and rolled it so It looked like a long stick/staff. I used this for the wand part of a vacuum cleaner. I then turned the keyboard upside down and taped the wand to it. I then went to a box which contained old toys, where I found an awesome-looking drill sword. I used the drill sword for a handle. The drill sword had a small part that came off and could be stuck back on again, I made this a rechargeable battery. I knew that one of the components of a vacuum cleaner is the rolling thing that stores all the dust. I wanted to use the phone when suddenly, a picture of the Ghostbusters sucking in ghosts came into my head and gave me an idea. I made the phone into a backpack where the dust could be stored, and the phone handle as an extra handle on the vacuum.

I was finished and had still a lot of time, so I made and put a small box near the edge of the vacuum which can collect dust. I also went around and asked for criteria/ feedback about my creation and design.

When it was my time to present, I got extremely nervous. I started by introducing myself and why I should be representing Leman at MIT. When I spoke, my nervousness made me say “umm” a lot of times. After that, I introduced my product, how it works, problems I faced when creating it and its purpose. I said to the judges that this vacuum can pick up trash on the sidewalks, beaches and every other place that has trash except if the trash is indoors. When presenting, I was trying to convince the judges that my creation makes people lives easier and better. There were questions on the board that you needed to answer. You also got a maximum of two minutes to present, which feels like eternity when you are presenting. After presenting, a wave of relief came over me, that it was done.

 

Steam Festival: Build a Bridge!

Written by: Derrick Yu and Rudy Kang, Grade 7

Leman International School is participating in the STEAM festival in Beijing. We are building a bridge to compete with other schools. We thought it will be very hard. But we will try our best to finish our bridge.

We chose to make a drawbridge.  Here’s our design process.

Design

We designed our bridge. It was not easy because designing a drawbridge is our first time.

Finally, we chose Rudy`s design.

Building

We started building our bridge. We started building the towers of the bridge by cutting wooden panels and dowels. It took a long time to finish the towers because we had a lot of trial and error.

3D printing

We found out that one part was too hard to build with wood so we used the 3D printer instead. Our plan was to print all different pieces of our bridge and assemble them together. When we printed it the printer failed and filament went everywhere. A glob formed on the extruder and now it’s clogged.

Conclusion

During this project, all of us did a lot of hard work. We tried our best to finish the project. Sometimes we argued about the design and materials. But we tried to be nice to each other. We think we all spent a lot of time to finish our job. I hope we all spend a nice time in Beijing.

Sabrina, Anna, Michelle, Sheryl Grade 8

We are Leman students who will be attending the STEAM festival this upcoming month. We have worked very hard to prepare projects to take with us to the festival in Shanghai. In art class with our supervisor/ teacher Ms. Kirsty, we have been working on some art projects that have turned out to be very appealing and unique. For our STEAM project we have been focusing on the topic “Photography”. We have connected all of our projects to this topic. The first project is a collage representing our personality and identity. We took three different photos and created a collage out of them. We cut and arranged the photos in different ways to make it more creative. The second project we did was a photography timeline. This project required a lot of research and collaboration, we all worked very hard together and distributed the work evenly. The finished product looked very informative and creative. It contained information as well as art. The third project is still not completed but will be by the time the festival comes up. We have been working very hard on this project in order to perfect it. It will be a 3D printed self-portrait that will involve the embedding technique as well. So far, we have come up with different design ideas and are still in the process of deciding which one to do. After we have taken the picture it will be 3D printed and taken to the STEAM festival.