New West students put applied design skills to the test in first-ever bobsled challenge

Lord Tweedsmuir may have had the advantage in the championship bobsled race Friday afternoon at Queen’s Park Arena, but even with three teams in the four-team final, they were no match for the kids from Connaught.

The teams were part of a day-long competition for grades-3-to-5 students from across the district, organized by Gary Pattern, the district’s applied design, skills and technologies facilitator.

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The challenge? To design and build a bobsled out of cardboard and tape and have them ready for competition on March 1 at Queen’s Park Arena. Between three and five teams faced off at one time, and only the winners moved on to the semi-final and championship races.

The goal was to get the students to use critical thinking skills to solve a general problem as well as handle any issues that came up during the competition, Pattern said. It’s all part of a focus on applied design, skills and technology.

New West students put applied design skills to the test in first-ever bobsled challenge_3
Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary students in grades 3 to 5 joined kids from across the district at Queen’s Park Arena on Friday for the first-ever district-wide bobsled challenge. Tweedmuir teams placed second and third in the afternoon tournament. Photo: Cayley Dobie

Pattern said it’s important, especially at a young age, to get kids in the habit of rethinking and reworking their projects; something he thinks helps foster innovation as the kids get older.

Not only do the elementary students get a chance to put their problem solving and design skills to work, but the older students get an opportunity to work on leadership skills.

Carpentry students from New Westminster Secondary were at the arena throughout the day to help Pattern. Including the secondary students in the day’s activities helps “them shine a little bit,” Pattern said.

It’s all part of the district’s push for more collaboration between schools and students, he added.

The event was split into two, with races happening in the morning and afternoon. Qayqayt students came out on top in the morning competition, according to Pattern, and all three top teams were presented with medals for their achievement.

New West students put applied design skills to the test in first-ever bobsled challenge_5
Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary students in grades 3 to 5 joined kids from across the district at Queen’s Park Arena on Friday for the first-ever district-wide bobsled challenge. Tweedmuir teams placed second and third in the afternoon tournament. Photo: Cayley Dobie

In the afternoon, three Lord Tweedsmuir teams faced off against a lone Connaught Heights team in the final, but they were no match for Connaught Heights who took home the gold medal after crossing the finish line first.

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