They interviewed, they brainstormed, and they prototyped. They sawed, they programmed, and they wired. The Group V girls spent the months of January and February not only learning about the engineering and design process, but living it.
This six-week curricular unit was kicked-off with a visit from the founders of Soulmates Heel Protectors, Monica Ferguson and Becca Brown. These entrepreneurs identified an everyday challenge—the difficulty of wearing high-heeled shoes on grassy surfaces—and developed heel protectors that dissipate pressure at the bottom of the heel allowing the wearer to walk across unsupportive or uneven surfaces with ease. Their now patented product has been wildly successful!
Hearing from Ferguson and Brown had the girls eager to tap into their own inner inventor. They began by conducting market research, interviewing friends and family members about challenges they have faced as they have aged, in taking care of small children, in their daily lives at school, and in caring for pets. The girls sifted through their interview notes to identify two everyday challenges they were interested in addressing with an invention of their own.
Next, they brainstormed four or five solutions for each of their two focus areas before zeroing in on the one everyday challenge they were going to address. Like any good engineer, their process was iterative—the girls went through multiple rounds of sketches and prototypes before assembling their final products. Of course, being able to articulate the distinguishing features of your invention is critical and the girls wrote up their own patents which described the problem they were solving, how the product works, and their special design features.
Their prototypes and patents were on display at last Thursday's Invention Convention. From the remote-controlled vehicle designed to carry your books between classes, to the contraption programmed to removed your teabag from your mug after precisely three minutes, the Group V girls impressed all in attendance with thoughtful and highly marketable product offerings!
See the full gallery of photos.