The young scientists and mathematicians of Northwest Indiana put their skills to the test as they started their journey to build can sculptures out of canned food, or (canstructures). This event served as a pep rally for the whole program, a learning experience about hunger, and the start of their mission to strategize and build their structures.
In the past, these canstructures can be enormous and are designed around a central theme. This year's theme is superheroes. With the help of Flash the superhero, the kids were motived to come up with a design. Assisted by engineers, the children were split up into groups to complete the first part of the process.
The event is being hosted by the workers at United Way and is in affiliation with the company, Canstruction. Canstruction is a charity that hosts competitions, exhibitions, and events entirely out of full cans of food. At the end of the whole event, all the food is donated to local hunger relief organizations.
“Today is a design camp that is strictly focused on them sitting down and sketching out the project. We have engineers and some volunteers from the construction arena coming in to get together with the students to help design the project,” said Relationship Manager at Lake Area United Way, Shellie Dell.
The steps of this whole process are as follows: Step one is the design camp that determines the structure that the teams want to build, Step two is the virtual camp where the students visit Purdue Calumet to see their structures in 3D technology, and Step three is the competition day that involves a live, intense 8 hour competition at Southlake mall. Region residents will cast votes and a winner will be chosen by criteria of best team, best structure, and peoples choice.
“For us, we saw this as an opportunity to engage students in the STEM disciplines. They are leaning mathematics, technology skills and engineering techniques that they might not have had exposure to before today,” said Celina Weatherwax, Communications Director for Congressman Pete Visclosky.
A huge supporter and leader in this program was Congressman Pete Visclosky. He came to spread some words of encouragement to the children as they got ready to start the first leg of their mission.
“My role today is to thank people for their generosity and for bringing young people together to help the community. This is what is perfect about northwest Indiana. You’ve got the academic community, private business community, labor organizations and the non-profits, such as the United Way of Porter County and Lake County. Ultimately, you will see about 42,000 meals provided for those in need. In the mean time, we also involve young people and let them be creative,” said Congressman Visclosky.
All the children were rearing to go as they started on their creative and extensive project. Not only are they putting their knowledge to the test, but they are feeding the hungry in the process. The final projects will be on display at the Southlake Mall from July 25 to August 2nd. Be sure to stop by and see the incredible finished products.