Students document the making of 4th-graders’ ‘dream machines’
The Dog Distractor, the Homeless Helper, the Imagine Brush and the Peppermint Snowman are inventions dreamed up by Bloomington fourth-graders and brought to life by students from IU and the Hoosier Hills Career Center. Media School students documented the collaboration.
Fourth-graders across the Monroe County Community School Corporation competed in the MyMachine Challenge, which asked students to invent a “dream machine” and create a prototype. Students in Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design senior lecturer Jon Racek’s Intensive Seminar in Comprehensive Design class refined four of the designs and created more sophisticated prototypes, and Hoosier Hills Career Center students built the machines. Students in senior lecturer Susanne Schwibs’ Advanced Documentary Production Workshop created documentaries about the projects.
These machine ideas were not only fun ways for young students to learn about science, technology, engineering and math and tap into their creative side, but also to show them the power of community collaboration. David Pillar, assistant director at the Hoosier Hills Career Center, said each project demonstrates how creativity and helping others can make a larger community difference.
The students began filming when each idea was only a plan on paper and followed the machines’ progress throughout the semester.
“This collaboration has been such a good challenge for students because they’re getting great, real-life planning and documentary experience,” Schwibs said.
Students in Schwibs’ class were divided into groups of three, and each group was assigned a machine to document and explore. Students were given free reign creatively, and each group picked the direction of the short film. Grace Fox, BA’22, project lead for the Dog Distractor, said her group wanted to portray how collaboration works on various levels.
“After learning about the fourth-graders’ project, we really wanted to go deeper into the process of non-traditional education and how a dream is made,” Fox said.
Students were in charge of coordinating film times, interviews with community members, and video and sound edits. Sophomore Paige Falcon said the project provided her with a diverse set of experiences. She said her group and others were learning and adapting as they went.
“I went into it not knowing much about the documentary filmmaking progress, and when you’re filming a documentary you have to plan so much but also do things on the fly,” Falcon said.
Schwibs explained that one of the goals for her students in this class was to learn how to work with different types of people, and how to effectively plan a documentary. Each student was required to troubleshoot and adapt at times because documentary filmmaking is so unpredictable, she said.
“We kept referring to this project as a moving target, because there was a lot of unpredictability, but that’s exactly how you learn,” Schwibs said.
Another aspect of this project that made it exciting for students was the wide range of interview subjects. Fox said her interviews with fourth-graders were the most fun, but also a learning experience. She said she has usually just worked with other college-age students on film projects.
“The biggest thing for us was making this project about the kids, and getting to interview them was so much fun,” Fox said.
The physical, working dream machines were unveiled at the end of April.
“Being filmed and clearly documenting the process has been neat,” Pillar said. “It has really helped the younger students feel really important.”
The Homeless Helper
Two kids appear at a table in an elementary school library.
Child 1: The homeless helper is the name and the design.
Text reads: Each year, the MyMachine Foundation challenges students across the globe to creat their “dream machines.”
Child 2: It is a wagon that’s pulled by someone that has snaps, bottled water, umbrellas, operation glue, Nintendo’s switches, volleyball, and a net.
Text reads: In 2022, four 4th-grade students from Unionville, Indiana, won best overall design with their machine.
Child 2: This invention makes homeless people happy. It also gives them things they need and ways to have fun.
Text reads: This is their story.
Exterior of Unionville. Kids file out of a school bus. Interior shots of the school.
Principal over the announcement: Today is a new day.
Kids repeat: It’s going to be a great day.
Kids raise their hands in a classroom.
A teacher speaks to the interviewer in a classroom.
Shawn Fisher, teacher, Unionville Elementary: Well, I really like the Maker Challenge, that it’s a hands-on opportunity.
Kids are shown in class.
Fisher: And it kinda puts all the kids on a level playing ground no matter where they are academically. Us teachers are really encouraged to step back and let the kids take ownership on these projects. Specifically, the homeless helper was really cool. That was completely kid-driven and an idea that they came up with.
A child speaks to the camera.
Tacora: I made pretty much the whole main idea. Aubrey and Trevor and Keegan were supporting details.
Fisher speaks to the camera.
Fisher: So the four students were Aubrey, Tacora, Keegan, and Trevor.
The four kids are shown together in a classroom with their names written in white text.
Tacora speaks to the camera alone.
Tacora: Trevor, I don’t know a lot about him. He likes dirt bikes.
Trevor speaks to the camera: Pretty much any dirt bike slash ATV slash monster truck slash anything with two or four wheels.
Tacora speaks to the camera.
Tacora: Aubrey, very kind and funny and my best friend. The two are pictured on the bus.
Camera shows Trevor.
Trevor: A car, a four wheeler, dirt bike, if you had, or a snowmobile.
Tacora speaks to the camera.
Tacora: Keegan has a dog. That’s about all I know about Keegan.
Trevor is shown.
Trevor: Except for like a bike, anything motorized.
Tacora is shown in a classroom.
Tacora: I got a flamingo!
Fisher speaks to the camera.
Fisher: She has a very strong personality and very strong opinions and she’s not afraid to voice them. So especially when it comes to the homeless helper, I think that’s something that she felt really passionate about, just knowing that that is a problem in our community.
Camera scans the kids outdoors.
Fisher: When things, when things are not right, even on the playground, she’s one that stands up for others. She doesn’t like conflict. And so she worked really well with her team and included everybody.
Trevor speaks to the camera.
Trevor: I think it really started out as an idea in Tacora’s head, really I don’t know, because I’m not Tacora’s brain.
Aubrey speaks to the camera. The design is shown.
Aubrey: We started off, Tacora drew just like this picture of just like a teal cart. It had a sign that said: You can help the homeless, had a mushroom on it, and everything. And we ended up doing some little changes on it. We added more mushrooms.
Fisher speaks to the camera.
Fisher: They had the best teamwork of all the groups. And they really listen to one another and, and rooted each other on and really included everybody. They were really great about that.
The kids are seen working together.
Trevor: Maybe we can add on everyone’s ideas into one thing on the homeless helper, so that not only one person could be satisfied, everyone would be satisfied.
Fisher speaks to the camera.
Fisher: Four designs, one from our school. And then the homeless helper went on to win within the whole corporation.
Text: MyMachine Award Ceremony. Kids file into a lecture hall.
Emcee: Every year we partner with different organizations to make this possible. And this year we partnered with Indiana University and the Hoosiers Hills Career Center for the My Machine Challenge. Best overall idea, prototype and story is awarded to the homeless helper from Unionville Elementary School.
The awards are seen. Kids collect them and pose for photos.
Tacora: It felt very good to be honored for something we made.
The four kids are seen in a classroom.
Aubrey: In our classroom, we have yoga balls and I jump very high, very high. You can ask people that sat next to me.
Trevor: There’s no words.
Exterior of Fine Arts Building at IU. Students walk through the halls.
Fine arts students speak to the camera.
Melissa Wilson. IU design student: Once we saw the ideas, we basically thought, Wow, this is a bit much. So we sent them a powerpoint talking about the hierarchy of needs.
Graphics are shown. Wilson speaks to the camera.
Wilson: Just explaining that if we are working as the user being the homeless population, they may need the basic essentials first. There were all these different jobs that were cute or kind of realistic things and also kind of unrealistic things.
The kids are seen.
Trevor: Money guns with like $10,000 in fake cash.
Wilson: Like traveling houses, and tennis courts.
Tacora: Water, cheeze-its. Video games and Xboxes.
Keegan: Some dinosaurs.
Wilson: There were a bunch of like really expensive toys.
Trevor: I was kinda going through a nacho cheese phase. So I thought, why can’t we just put nacho cheese in it?
Camera flashes back to design students.
Daria Johnson, IU design student: I didn’t expect them to be as involved as they really were.
The classroom interior is seen.
Teacher: Do you guys want to do a drumroll too, that would be kind of fun.
Design students are seen again.
Hannah Jones, IU design student: I think the children are extremely passionate about their design. They’re super into it.
The kids are seen working in class.
Jones: I mean they were constantly asking questions or like giving us pointers, like they were telling us what to do and they knew exactly what they wanted in their design.
The four kids are seen in a classroom.
Aubrey: So they added like this bed sort of thing and they made it so that you would give it to a homeless person for the night. Our idea was like there would be drawers and you go around and give homeless people stuff.
Wilson: They were obsessed with mushrooms, which is just like the funniest thing about the whole project.
Kids all speak about the mushrooms. I liked the mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms, mushroom. Mushrooms, mushroom.
Tacora: I feel like the the main idea of art was mushrooms.
Jones: I was going to make a joke about how like none of our designs, we never have to consider gravity, so just working through shelter that can fold out and also not crumble was really difficult.
Wilson: Yeah, I definitely feel content with what we gave. I think we put a lot of work into it like holy cow.
Design students are seen working on the project.
Wilson: And we worked through a lot of different scenarios and I think this is definitely the best one. We finished our schematics yesterday, and it was a really good feeling.
Exterior of the city.
Text: Hoosier Hills Career Center.
Mark Scranton, teacher at Hoosier Hills: I suppose there are some concerns with maybe needing a break of some kind on it, but I mean, I think the wheels I think it’ll push it easily with the proper wheels on it.
The kids are pictured.
Tacora: The wheels were a big pain.
Trevor: I mean, it worked, it just didn’t stay on the best.
Tacora: It wouldn’t work or stand up at all.
Trevor: It went OK. It was not fine.
People work on the project in Hoosier Hills workshop.
Man: So this lid was cut before this was made so this needs to be trimmed down so that way it will fit inside still. That’s what we’re working on right now.
Blueprints are seen.
Man: I’d say the plan, at least the blueprints, they’ve been pretty helpful. There’s some things we’ve had to modify it to try to get to work the way it should. But for the most part it’s worked out well.
Fisher speaks to the camera.
Fisher: This is the first time that Unionville has actually made it as a winner.
The lecture hall presentation is seen.
Fisher: Just being able to have IU come in and take their prototype further and then further. And now to hear that Hoosiers Hills is making the actual dream machine of the homeless helper is so cool and the kids are really excited about it. So this is the first time we’ve been able to take it this far.
Exterior of a school. Kids get on a school bus.
Teacher: Oh my. OK. Let me call.
Kids sit together in the bus,
Tacora: Oh, there are a lot of homeless people out there and they just don’t have anywhere to go. And these people don’t have food, water, entertainment, a home.
Trevor: Somewhere to sleep. And a natural disaster that can happen, they won’t have any shelter or any place to stay dry.
Keegan: A flood that you could go home, they’re just out there in the cold whether it’s raining or snowing.
Aubrey: They don’t have a house. They don’t have a warm bed or anything.
The interior of a classroom. Leader presents to a room.
Pillar: I would like to welcome everybody that’s here: parents, families, teachers, friends, and all of our friends from Indiana University that are here together. This is the homeless helper. Again, what an idea of what a, what a, what an aware concept. Very, very neat idea. Who was the homeless helper inventor? All right, so why don’t you come up here and help me?
The team rises from its seats and go to the front of the room. The project is unveiled.
Pillar: So all right. So you guys stand over here and nope, no peaking. OK. Are you ready to see the homeless helper? Whoa.
Kids dance and give peace signs to the camera. They file out of the building and return to the school bus.
Trevor: I really hope that we can use it to help local homeless people.
The four kids are seen.
Trevor: And then maybe build 50 more to have at least one in every state. And the goal is to be like a farmer where you start off small and then go really big.
Kids speak to the camera.
Tacora: If it was, if it was a perfect world, there would not be homeless people. That’s a perfect world.
Aubrey speaks to the camera.
Aubrey: They’d get enjoyment out of it and they’d feel better than how they did before they had the cart when they didn’t have it.
Trevor: Homeless people just have stuff that they need they’ll have a cart to store it all, as well as a place they can sleep, so they don’t have to sleep on the ground which we all know isn’t comfortable.
Tacora: Well, we’re giving them food, water, a place to sleep, and support for dog or cat or hamster.
Trevor: Just by doing small things, it can expand to be hopefully the whole world.
Tacora: That’s all I have to say.
Black screen. Text reads: Directed by Jose-Luis Amsler, Josph Ermey, Duke Moosbrugger. Aubrey Kegan Tacora Trevor. Shawn Fisher. Melissa Wilson, Hannah Jones, Daria Johnson. Mark Scranton, Dave Pillar. A special thanks to Susanne Schwibes. John Racek. Indiana Universityt. Hoosier Hills Career Center. Bloomington South High School. Unionville Elementary. MyMachine Foundation. The homeless helper.
By Jose-Luis Amsler, Josph Ermey and Duke Moosbrugger
The Imagine Brush
Kids sit in front in front of a color wheel in a classroom.
A man sits in Hoosier Hills Career Center.
IU design students sit in a classroom.
Each source says: The imagine brush. The imagine brush. The imagine brush. The imagine brush. Imagine brush. Imagine brush. Imagine brush. Imagine brush.
A hand paints: The idea in yellow paint.
Exterior of a school.
Emcee speaks on stage.
Emcee: This is our fifth annual Maker Challenge Showcase. This year we partnered with Indiana University and the Hoosier Hills Career Center for the My Machine Challenge. So their challenge this year was to make a dream machine that they would love to see exist.
Machines are shown.
Emcee: We’re going to take those ideas and the cooperation winners are going to have university students help kind of make a, re-imagine those and kind of help develop and design them a little bit further. And then we’re going to take it even a step further than that.
Design students appear in a classroom.
Emcee: And our Hoosier Hills students over at the career center, they’re going to build some of these.
Emcee speaks on stage in lecture hall.
Emcee: And now for the corporation wide award, the best story behind the design is awarded to the imagine brush from Arlington Heights Elementary. Congratulations.
Kids walk onstage.
Exterior of a school.
Interviewer: How did you introduce yourself?
Kids appear in a classroom.
Jackson: Hi, my name is Jackson.
Jada: My name is Jada.
Paisely: My name is Paisley.
Xavier: My name is Xavier and I go to Arlington Heights Elementary School.
Interviewer: How did you come up with the idea for the imagine brush?
Jada: I started painting and drawing in the primary colors.
Jackson: And so Jada is like the, like, the person who thought of it. I thought of like getting all these things on top of it. So we went to Mrs. Patrick, which is our art teacher, and she gave us these paint brushes to get us on the top of it.
Jada: This, these parts was from our teacher. These parts are from Paisley I think. And then the paint brushes were from Jackson and then these little push things are from me and then the this thing is from Paisley. And I think this thing right here is from Xavier.
Interviewer: What do you want to create with the imagine brush once it’s working?
Jackson: I kind of want to create like a picture like out of this because it’d be the first picture ever made out of a thing that our like our class made. I think it would be really cool.
Interviewer: What would you want the picture to be?
Jackson: Probably the Indianapolis Colts.
Xavier: I want to create butterflies with the imagine brush.
Jada: Maybe flowers.
Paisely: I would probably like to paint a wall.
Interviewer: What color would you want to paint it?
Paisely: Probably blue.
A hand paints the words: The prototype in blue paint.
Two presenters appear in a classroom in Arlington.
Cody: Hi guys. I’m Cody.
Tim: I’m Tim. And as you know, we’re creating your imagine brush.
Cody, Eskenazi School of Design, speaks to the camera. He holds the prototype.
Cody: This is what we came up with for design. The only thing that is not featured in this design is a top plate that fits up here and connects all of these together so they don’t wobble around. Overall, what it does is, you put, you place a cup down here. And then based on the chart that features all the colors, you will then press down on the syringes however much paint you need, and the paint will then come from these knobs into the cup. So if you want to make orange or red, you do three milliliters of yellow and then four milliliters of red to get a nice red-orange.
Tim and Cody present a PowerPoint in the classroom.
Cody: Our idea with this was to make it more of a kit that you can carry along with your backpack and everything. And then down here is a cup for paint. And then there’s three separate vials of paint. They’re the three primary colors. You press on the syringes on the top and paint comes out on the bottom.
Tim, Eskenazi School of Design, speaks to the camera.
Tim: So initially with the imagine brush, we started out trying to make a paintbrush that could mix and distribute paints with three primary colors. But then we found out that it was very difficult to get all the mixing, cleaning, and distribution of paint in such a small body of just a paintbrush. So we then switched to making a paint kit. It’d be able to mix and distribute paint. And then you could just use a paint brush and paint with that.
Cody speaks in the classroom while presenting to the classs of kids.
Cody: And there’s a little chart that tells you exactly how much paint to mix for whatever color you want, If you red, or you want purple, you add a little bit of red, a little bit of blue together, approximately two milliliters of each, and then mix together, you get purple.
Cody speaks to the interviewer in front of a color wheel.
Cody: I was actually quite surprised at the fourth graders’ direction. They focused more on the aesthetic parts of the design versus how it worked and how big it was. My main concern was that they’re going to be sad that it wasn’t exactly a paintbrush. But they were actually very receptive to our design. And I was really happy with that. What I will create with the working imagine brush would be, I like painting with like cool colors with splashes of vibrant color. So I’ll go with a blue dominant palette with grays and blacks as well. And with splashes of red flowers and such for a nice landscape picture, I think.
Tim speaks to the camera.
Tim: I’d probably use it just to paint furniture or something. I’m not really that much of a painter, but I could see myself using it if I wanted to paint like a chair a color.
Hand paints: the final product in red paint.
Exterior of Hoosier Hills Career Center.
Male student appears in a workshop.
Wyatt: Hoosier Hills is a place where we can come for half the day, your junior and senior year. And you can learn about different career opportunities like welding, auto body, auto maintenance, different stuff like that.
Students work in the shop.
Wyatt: And you can also earn dual credit at Ivy Tech Community College. So it just gives you an insight into the real world and helps you find some stuff you might want to do later on in life. Last week, Miss McBride came to the welding class and she asked us if we could figure out a way to fabricate something like this made out of PVC pipe instead of this sheet metal.
Wyatt shows the PVC pipe.
Camera pans to leading man in Hoosier Hills Career Center.
Mark Scranton, Hoosier Hills Career Center: The IU students did a fantastic job, did all the blueprints and everything like that.
Scranton gestures to the prototype.
Scranton: And then he did this part which they want to do initially with aluminum. And I said there’s no reason to, because this serves its purpose and it functions as it should.
Wyatt appears in a classroom with the tools.
Wyatt: And so we found some PVC pipe that was the same diameter as this, so it would fit the imagine brush. And so we had to cut i to length and we came up with this. This is before. So we’re actually going to hydro dip this, so it’s a different color and it’s not just this plain white.
Pair of students submerge the tools into the solution.
Wyatt: They have a solution. And then they put this film on top of it. So it’s like a liquid solution. And then you just take the piece of pipe and dip it real slow. And then the film ends up like going onto this in minutes. It looks like that instead of just plain white.
Scranton appears in the workshop and speaks to the camera.
Scranton: The IU guy, again, he did an excellent job in terms of the engineering and the function. Utilitarian value of the idea executed perfect. I couldn’t do a better job. And basically he baked the cake and and all we did was put a little frosting on.
Wyatt speaks to the camera.
Interviewer: What would you create with the imagine brush? I don’t know I think I would see what different colors I could mix to make some pretty cool colors for a landscape.
Scranton appears in the workshop.
Scranton: I would probably donate it to an elementary art program or replicate half a dozen per school corporation for elementary art programs. That would be my suggestion.
A bus drives up to a school. Kids exit. Vice principal Mr. Pillar is seen presenting the projects.
Pillar: Arlington, are you ready to see the imagine paint brush? Looks like now. Here’s where we started. Here is the imagine paint brush.
He unveils the project.
Pillar: So it is gorgeous, thank you. We will take it over to that space and when we’re totally finished, some of the folks from Arlington, if you want to play with it, the adults, anyone from anywhere, you want to check it out, there’s some area over there that you are welcome to paint on our Welcome to Hoosier Hills sign.
People use the tool.
Pillar: If you’d like to draw some designs or write your name in paint or something like that.
Shots of kids dancing, presenting, and chatting roll.
Hand paints: The Imagine Brush.
Hand paints: Tricia Petit.
Hand paints: Paige Falcon.
Hand paints: Brody Lassner.
Hand paints: The end.
By Tricia Petit, Paige Falcon and Brody Lassner
How to Build a Snowman
Kids sit in a large classroom while the principal presents the snowman project. An American Sign Language interpreter signs as the principal speaks. A snowman sits atop a cart as he presents. Added text: Hoosier Hills Career Center.
Principal: So the peppermint snowman. This is kind of bits and pieces of how it came to you all. This is the old peppermint snowman.
The camera zooms into closeups of children’s faces.
Principal: Is this good? Should we just stop here?
Principal: All right. 123. Whoa!
Animated screen. Text: How to Build a Snowman.
Three kids stand against a wall. Various exterior shots of Fairview Elementary School.
Teacher in background: Are you ready? Yeah. 123, eyes on me. Great.
The camera shows closeups of children’s sketches in a classroom atop desks.
Adam Maltese, teacher: MyMachine starts with getting younger kids to come up with ideas that they want to see built — their dream machine.
Maltese speaks to the camera.
Maltese: And then that idea and drawings and other things goes on to university students.
Camera pans to three IU students.
Maltese: And they use their skills that they’re developing to try to create designs and often and in this case, an initial prototype of what that is.
Camera shows beginning prototype. Design students are seen working.
Maltese: Their end-user is that they’re going to pass those designs off to secondary students who are in vocational and technical schools. And those students are going to use their developing skills to actually build and create a manufactured finished product.
Children are seen inside a classroom making funny faces. Moné, a fourth-grade student, speaks to the camera from inside a classroom.
Interviewer: What’s your name?
Interviewer: How old are you? Nine, almost ten, my birthday is Aug. 16.
Teacher is seen inside a classroom. She speaks to the camera. Text: Ms. Thompson.
Thompson: Moné is super interesting. I love talking to her because you never really know how she’s going to word her perspective, which always keeps it pretty interesting.
Briley is seen on screen.
Briley: I have bubblegum.
Thomspon works with kids on screen.
Briley: She’s very much invested in trying to help me, like do my classroom duties like she really wants to be involved with, like, if I need help with anything, she’s super into it. Like if I asked her to pass out papers or run an errand for me, she’s always like one of my go-tos.
Car’reanna raises her hand in class.
Thompson: Car’reanna can be a little bit quieter. But then whenever you do get those moments with her where you have those one-on-one conversations, again, it’s a really enjoyable conversation like she’s very lively.
Moné speaks to the camera in the library.
Moné: Well, my friend planned out — my my friend drew it and my other friend wrote about it. And then I I built, so I had the idea. So I put like a cup on top of his fur hat because it was it was winter then, so we decided to make it.
University students speak to the camera in a classroom.
Zelton Kay: Hi, my name is Zelton Kay.
Raul Quiroz: I’m Raul Quiroz.
Mitch Runkle: Mitch Runkle. I’m a comprehensive design major in my third year, and I’m one of the design students that’s working on MyMachine project.
Kay: So when you’re given a project that doesn’t have a lot of constraints, it’s really important to kind of start thinking outside the box.
Runkle: We really have to get creative and kinda problem-solve with their, with their original designs.
Quiroz: I remember one of their iterations that they set back to us. They wanted us to add lasers to the snowman. Obviously that’s not possible, but I just love how creative they got with it.
Runkle: First thing we did was we got this idea and some simple sketches from a fourth grader.
The three students are seen sketching in pads and on tablet, discussing the project.
Runkle: So we took those sketches and he started kind of ripping off them through phase we call ideation and brainstorm.
Screen shows closeup of their design. Text: initial design 1, crossbow launching system. The snowman is pieced together on a design table.
Runkle: Next we start narrowing down, okay, which of these is feasible?
Screen shows closeup of their design. Text: initial design 3, side launching system. The snowman is pieced together on a design table.
Runkle: And we kind of narrowed it down to like three or four models which get critiqued. And then we’ll choose the best one out of the critique.
Screen shows closeup of their design. Text: snowball catapult. The snowman is pieced together on a design table. Text: movement and structure.
Runkle: Then we take like real materials for, in this case, we made a half-scale model and then we made a full-scale model of the head and the catapult.
Students work in the workshop with tools. Tablet with design specs is seen.
Runkle: So then we take those, we present them again. And that was that was pretty much all we did.
Hoosier Hills Career Center exterior shots. Kids work on the design in the workshop, painting the prototype white.
The three inventing children stand against a wall in Fairview.
Interviewer: Can you guys describe how you came up with the idea for Peppermint?
Car’reanna and Moné point to Briley. They say: Her.
Car’reanna speaks to the camera in the library.
Car’reanna: Because we were going to do something different, but instead, we didn’t have most of the stuff so we just came up with that one.
The three stand against a wall.
Briley: I just decided to combine boxes together. And then it ended up looking like a snowman.
Moné speaks to the camera in the library.
Moné: Briley, she made a thing where when you pull it back it shoots.
Car’reanna speaks to the camera in the library.
Car’reanna: And they was like, what should the name of it be? And then we came up with a different name. It was like like you love peppermints or something? And we was like yeah. And then Briley said we should name it peppermint snowman.
The three stand against a wall.
Briley: And then we were like Peppermint is like a good name for a snowman.
Moné: She came up with that the name, we agreed but you did it.
The principal speaks to a crowd of children, presenting the project. The ASL interpreter signs as he speaks.
Principal: Yeah. So how about the peppermint snowman inventors come up here and join me.
The kids walk to the front, and their project is unveiled.
Principal: 1, 2, 3.
The kids play with the prototype.
Thompson: Getting to see them put so much effort into designing something and working out the kinks and working as a group as well has been awesome, like seeing that collaboration between them is probably my favorite part because I think collaboration can bring out a lot of the best qualities in them.
Principal: And we’re going to have her fire the ceremonial first piece of ammo, ready? There you go. Hey, what do you think? Peppermint snowman, hey, pretty cool, right?
Maltese: Often, arts programs, music programs, theater programs: Those are some of the first to get thrown out with the belief that if we just focus more time on tested subjects, our students would do better.
Kids work on their designs.
Maltese speaks to the camera.
Maltese: Whereas if you do the opposite where you bring in more of these opportunities, even though it seems like it’s giving less time to learning the basics, their performance usually goes way up on those because they’re engaged.
Kids work in the classroom.
Kay: I had a lot of creative potential in the fourth grade that wasn’t, I didn’t really have an outlet for until really I started this program. So I think it’s important to give kids, you know, things that are, that are more problem-solving and design rather than just strictly like memorization.
The kids’ hands go to the camera.
Background: Okay, cool. Hi.
Screen says: How to build a snowman.
Screen shows headshots of the three fourth graders. Text: Briley Sissman. Moné White. Car’Reanna Isabell. Screen shows childhood photos of the design students. Text: Mitch Runkle. Zelton Kay. Raul Quiroz. Created by: production students Melanie Roberts. Taiah Wilson. Ce’Aira Waymon. Their headshots are seen.
Screen shows thanks. Text: Special thanks to Ms. Thompson, Adam Maltese, Mr. Valenta, Fairview Elementary, Hoosier Hills, David Pillar, Jon Racek, Susanne Schwibs. Music: Dippu, All Betz Off, Finetune Music. Folk guitar optimistic reflect, Future Vision, Finetune Music. Grand Heist, Prime Number, Finetune Music. Maple Leaf Rag, Akashic Records, Jamendo. Middle Path, Eden Keyes, Keyframe Audio. The First Step, Eric Feinber, Epidemic Sound.
Text: Thank you!
By Melanie Roberts, Taiah Wilson and Ce’Aira Waymon
The Dog Distractor
Red screen: IU Media School present:
People horse around while intro music plays.
Man: You think we can get this done by the end of the school year?
Man 2: We’re at the end of the design phase.
A design program shows on the screen.
A teacher sits inside a classroom.
Teacher: We’re going to see the actual machine.
Screen shows ASL icons. Text reads: The Making of a Dream.
Exterior of a building. People line up and enter a lecture hall.
An emcee on the stage: Thank you so much for coming out this evening. This is our fifth annual Maker Challenge Showcase.
Awards for projects lie on a table.
Emcee: Students are challenged with dreaming up an invention, coming up with something that they could create.
Interior of a high school is shown.
Students’ projects are scanned.
Emcee: We’re going to take those ideas and have university students reimagine those, help develop and design them a little bit further. And our Hoosier Hill students, they’re going to help to build some of these.
Exterior of a classroom. Closeup of sign reading: Mrs. Gross. Grad 4. 324.
Interview with Charlene Gross in a Fairview Elementary School classroom.
Gross: I guess it’s hard to talk about yourself where you’re put on the spot a little bit, but I’m Charlene Gross, a fourth-grade teacher here at Fairview. This is my seventh year teaching, my fourth year teaching fourth grade. This class in particular — I don’t normally say that, but this is by probably my favorite group I’ve had so far.
Interior of a classroom filled with kids.
Gross: They all are a great community. They care about one another. The Makers Challenge in particular was really what I saw them bond together in teams.
Gross speaks to the camera.
Gross: And it didn’t matter when we were doing different challenges or different STEM projects along the way. Who was in what group? They were just like, all right, let’s get down. Let’s work together.
Fairview exterior is seen followed by the library shots.
Gross: My group of boys that made the dog distractor are probably the most unique group of workers I’ve seen. With two of those students, Brock and Lodyn, are DOH, or Deaf or hard of heaving students.
Three kids sit at a table and converse.
Gross: But the friendship that they created through that is one that’s a lasting one. I think because they work through those communications struggles, that just made their friendship bonds even stronger. And what they were wanting to learn.
Screen shows a logo background. Text: IU design presentation. First prototype.
Two people present to a room.
Presenter 1: We wanted to combine food with play. First, we have to look at all the different ways of we play and interact with dogs.
Presenters interact with kids in the classroom.
Presenter 1: This is basically what happens inside the cylinder.
Presenter 2: After a certain amount of time, this bottom circle rotates a little bit. Basically what we’re building is a device that dispenses a random or diverse amount of treats every 25 minutes.
Three masked kids stand at the front of a classroom and speak to the camera.
Kid 1: I think it was Brock that had the idea of it.
Kid 2 signs: My dog bit me. He scratched me as well, and I wanted him to stop.
Screen shows logo. Text reads: IU design presentation. Final prototype.
A classroom lights up while showy music plays,
The kids see the prototype.
Presenter 1: This to the top cylinders, it’s way cool to see the cylinders.
Jon Racek, comprehensive design Indiana University.
The reason I love this project is that my design students are working with demanding clients, which very much aligns with real life and real clients.
Racek speaks to the camera.
Racek: Students have to translate the ideas into the form of things that work. And then they have to prepare these prototypes to be translated into, into a way that people can actually make. Sam Crawford and Colton Snyder speak to the camera from within a classroom.
Snyder (presenter 2): Honestly, that’s our biggest role in this big project, between what the children want and what Hoosier Hills can do. That’s a big part of what our role is.
Design is shown on tape.
Snyder: Definitely been confirmed in lessons I’ve been told about, which is like “It takes a village to get anything done.”
Various graphs are shown in the design of the prototype.
Racek: They had two major challenges. The first challenge was the design brief was a little bit vague. They weren’t really sure what they were supposed to do.
Design students’ hands are shown as they work at a bench on the project.
Racek: And so it took some time to figure out what the fourth graders were really looking for with their project. The other big challenge for them was they were working with electronics and mechanical elements within the design. This is something that we don’t typically do a lot of in our program.
Racek speaks to the camera.
Racek: And so they were kind of out on their own and they were able to make something out of it.
Snyder and Crawford speak to the camera.
Snyder: We have to know that they have the parents that are the ones that are actually going to be using this and having it in their home. And so you kinda have to hear what the child has to say, then predict what their parents have to say and figure out how the dog’s going to react to it. And that’s a lot.
Kids walk into the lecture hall.
Gross: This is not just something made up for a fourth grader for something silly or fun. This is something that you could really do when you grow up. This is actually something you can make as a career.
Kids smile for the camera with their awards.
Gross: And so I think that that was like, Hey, we’re doing something we could do in our future right now. I think it really did make them feel empowered.
A man carries the prototype through a building while music plays.
Designers sit inside the Hoosier Hills Career Center.
Man: This is the dog distractor. Essentially the way it works is the container is at the top.
Man presents the prototype.
Man: This spins. Things will drop down into a bowl and the dog get it, including these ones.
Scott Bradley speaks to the camera.
Bradley: I’m Scott Bradley, Hoosier Hills Career Center, intro transportation and rec and mobile equipment.
People work on the prototype with power tools.
Bradley: This one in particular, I think was probably one of the toughest ones. And I think that’s why they gave it to us. We started with a bunch of wood and we build up something that’s going to have a purpose.
Bradley speaks to the camera.
Bradley: And I can’t wait the fourth graders to see it when they roll up.
Bradley speaks to a team in the workshop.
Bradley: Ultimately what we need to do is get the structure built, kind of weigh it, kind of see what it takes to tip it. Okay. Like if the winds gonna blow it over or something like that, then what we can do is if we need to put a little ballast on the bottom of it, we can we can do something like that. We could actually make it to where we bolt it or screw it to the boards just to make it good and strong. And then course we can put everything that we, the batteries and the electronics. We can put super low into it too. We don’t want, we want to keep all the weight down low.
Man measures a side.
Man: OK, 7/8ths, OK.
The team laughs around a table.
Bradley: We try to have a lot of fun in here and anything we do, you know, it’s just I don’t matter if it’s that, or that four wheeler or that golf cart or whatever. Yeah. We try to show them a lot, and hopefully they take heed to it and it takes them somewhere.
Screen reads: Hoosier Hills Career Center. Final reveal.
Interior of a school bus. Kids exit the vehicle and go sit in a classroom.
Piller: My name is Mr. Piller and I am the assistant principal here at Hoosier Hills. You see some things that look somewhat familiar. We’ve got the original dog distractor. Today, you’re going to see the updated version.
Kids show off their projects.
Piller: Congratulations and great job to the inventors and everyone who helped create the dog distractor. Congratulations, and thanks again.
Screen reads: Dog distractor inventors. Atley, Brock, Lodyn.
Kids face an interviewer.
Interviewer: What do you want to do when you grow up?
Kid 1: I want to be an astronaut.
Screen reads: IU design team. Colton Snyder. Sam Crawford.
Kids face an interviewer.
Interviewer: Nice, I found out that I’m too tall to be an astronaut.
Screen reads: Hoosier Hills fabricators. Griffin. Wyatt. Riley. Cole. Ryan.
Interviewer: You have to be shorter than I am.
Kid 2: Wait how tall are you?
Screen reads: Special thanks to Susanne Schwibs.
Interviewer: Six feet, four inches. You can’t be over six feet, two inches, of six feet, three inches. Screen reads: IU Media School Team. Grace Fox. Wyatt Fritz. Dominick Rivers.
Kid 2: That’s just sad.
Screen reads: Cinematography. Grace Fox. Wyatt Fritz. Maybe you can be an astronaut when like when your bones start to get smaller.
Screen reads: Editing and sound. Dominick Rivers.
Kid 2: like when you’re an old person, you can be shorter then.
Screen reads: Original music. Written and performed by Dominick Rivers.
By Grace Fox, Wyatt Fritz and Dominick Rivers