• Fair Chance Learning

HP Maker Challenge

This past spring Fair Chance Learning attended the CONNECT 2019 conference to showcase challenge-based learning opportunities with HP Canada. We invited students from Peel and Grand Erie School Boards to join us at the conference to participate in a Maker Challenge, in turn energizing and mobilizing the HP Learning Studios booth. This was a full-circle moment for us at FCL having facilitated the first-ever HP Maker Challenge the previous year at CONNECT. The success of the CONNECT 2018 experience spurred a year’s worth of Maker Challenges, transforming the way HP engages at conferences, shifting to a student-centred learning space, and using it as another opportunity to involve students as active participants in their own discovery process.

The Maker Challenge

Students were presented with an essential question on the theme of Sustainability, asked to define problems to solve and then design solutions as a response to the challenge.

The HP Learning Studios equipment, hardware and software, was available to the students in order to develop their solutions and to present their concepts. In the afternoon, as part of the friendly competition, the students were asked to show and share their responses with conference attendees who stopped by to visit the booth. Voters were encouraged to judge the responses based on: critical thinking, innovation and experimentation of their project or proposal, potential reach of the impact of their solution, pitch presentation and communication skills.

Throughout the challenge, students documented the experience using audio, video, and photography. This ongoing collection of content provided the resources for reflection and sharing.

Students shared this about the HP Maker Challenge experience at CONNECT 2019:

"During the CONNECT Conference I think one of the skills I worked on the most was communication because during the whole conference I had to walk up to people and invite them to the booth to present to them. At first I didn’t want to do it so I would let someone else in my group do it and then after a while I got used to it and grew more confident when I would invite people. I think the communication skill is useful in the future because I might have to do a similar projects or get similar opportunities like this and I have to be prepared to talk to people and explain my thinking properly.

One of the things I’m proud of during the Design Challenge was the fact that me and my group worked and used our time effectively and efficiently and ended up beholding something that was really creative in my opinion. In the beginning I was scared that we only had 2 hours and then I was really surprised that we had that much done in that amount of time, even though it wasn’t much it still surprised me.

I think I found the Design Challenge at Niagara Falls more engaging and I think it was more engaging because of the setting we were in. It felt more professional and since we had a limited amount of time to create our prototype it put more pressure on us and that made me more focused on the final product."


"The Connect conference that we attended was very fun. We got to learn new things and skip school at the same time. I learned how business people advertise their products to get people to buy their products instead of their competitors. Some skills that I used during this project was definitely communication, teamwork and effective thinking. We had to communicate and work together to get our sustainable city model done and be able to make a presentation. At the beginning when we started planning the model, we had to really think about our plan and how we could make our city sustainable. Our biggest challenge was getting our model done because we really wanted to add details but we were reminded of our time limit and we had to rush to get the major things done. Something I would do differently would be to make an actual presentation on slides or any other app to make it easier for people to understand and to make it easier for us to partially read off of something instead of making up lines as you go. I was really proud of our model in general when people were saying that we did a good job in 2 hours which just made me feel proud and happy. My favourite part of the day was doing the presentations and looking at the other booths like playing Minecraft in VR. I 100% found this design challenge more fun and engaging instead of the other one at Fallingbrook because we had to think about what we were going to do instead of getting ideas from other books. It was also better because we had a time limit which made me even more excited compared to the other one as we had 2-3 months to do that one. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to do this. Thanks so much, Mr. Titus for allowing me and my friends to go."


"Throughout both of the design challenges, I was able to develop skills that I wasn’t the best at before. I was able to communicate with my group members well, and come up with ideas that are creative enough to be able to launch it to an audience. I was also given the ability to speak to an audience of higher reputation. I also learned how to manage my time well. Knowing things have a specific due date. During the Niagara trip, we had only a couple hours to come up with a decent, yet presentable activity.

During the design challenge, it took a lot of courage to be able to speak to an unknown audience. It also caused some stress being able to create something in such a short amount of time. Something we could’ve done differently, was to perhaps come up with more ideas so that we’d be able to have a variety to choose from and some ideas would be better than the other.

I was proud of myself for being able to have the opportunity to go to the Scotiabank Convention Centre to be a part of, and present a challenge that started off as a small activity our class did in language class. I’m glad that I was able to communicate well and really express my ideas well through the building process.

I believe my best learning moment was learning to verbally explain our process to a big audience. Also to learn how to use new technology such as the Sprout.

I found the one at Niagara more engaging because we were able to talk to a group of people with a short amount of time, but however, I also found the other design challenge at all the schools fun because we were able to present to a smaller audience."

- Kirsten

"I learned many things in school and outside of it. It is mainly about organization or responsibility but it was a really good opportunity that I had when I went to Niagara Falls. I gained a lot of experience doing these several activities. This opportunity made me learn and keep a lot of things in mind while doing these activities.

Being more specific the skills that I learned while being in Niagara Falls and participating in the challenges made me learn things about leadership, time management, collaboration, and persuasion. Leadership is going to help me a lot in the future because if I get in any kind interactive job leadership will be important to guide the group in the right direction. Time management is a very vital trait because if you do anything in the future that includes due dates and big projects it will help. Collaboration is also a very big one too because in order to be a leader or any kind of colleague in a group you’re going to have learned collaboration in order to finish any project. Persuasion is a very new trait for me because I haven’t been in any kind of advertising at school. Persuasion is going to help in the future to make a pitch or advertise in any way. The main challenge that I had come through was trying to focus and being shy. Since I had come early to school it was hard for me to work for the first 30 min of our challenge. I was also being shy because it was out of my comfort zone but once when I realized that the challenge was hard I focused harder. My best learning moment that I had was pitching it to people and me explaining our thought process. The thing that I was really proud of what we did was definitely the use of technology. We had a website, slides and we made our own logo with a slogan saying “wear it don’t tear it”. The challenge that was more engaging was definitely the one in Niagara Falls. Mainly because we knew what we're expecting and we actually had better access with the technology and more time to get things ready. Another reason is that we talked and interacted with other people.

In conclusion we I had a lot of fun but mainly learned and experienced a lot from the challenge and other activities. This kind of challenge will really help me in the future. Thank you for the opportunity and if there was another challenge like this I would not turn it down."

- Cesar

"Some of the skills I use the most in this design challenge were cooperation, communication, organization, and problem-solving. In my opinion, with the experience I have had within the professions I want to pursue, along with everyday life, communication is one of the skills that are most powerful. Without being able to explain and compromise on situations, there is very little that can go as planned in many situations. Organizing and problem solving to adapt to different people’s needs, wants and skill levels also involve a high amount of communication. There is more about communication and pitching in the following responses.

One of the major struggles we had was to work around some technology issues that we had. This includes simple things such as not being able to email and input images due to poor Internet connections, all the way to taking time to fix the 3D printer to complete our model. It was a huge setback to not be able to insert the suitable images for our slides presentation and our website, which was still not inserted by the time we began pitching. At the time, there was not much we could specifically do differently, but I would’ve given our group more hope for a beneficial objective, despite the pictures being our visual aid. On the other hand, our 3D printer issue was solved quite quickly with the help of one of my group members and another member from the other group.I think something that made me very proud throughout the design challenge was the ability my group and I had to quickly put aside our differences, cooperate, and pull through this day. What I saw at Niagara was something I have never seen during a group project I have ever participated in. The strength to work together and gather ideas, to successfully dividing up tasks to complete them faster, all the way to near the end of the day when we began to pitch to our audience. We had this consistent bond that held our project and overall goals in place while not forgetting an important aspect of this day: to have fun. I was thoroughly proud to finally have a group that fit the task at hand to discuss and concentrate what was in our individual skill sets.

The best and most significant learning moment from this day was the pitching and advertising our products to different adults. I have experienced various ways of communication in similar situations, as well as many projects-in-a-day like this, but being able to communicate products created just hours before was really intriguing to me because it made me realize a deeper side of real business, slight politics, and addressing diverse audiences at specific timings.

Although observing how students from kindergarten, as well as grade 8 students, react to different scenarios was interesting, I do strongly believe the Niagara challenge was significantly more engaging. This is because not only are we getting a small insight of what has been going on in the world, we were challenged to complete a project with a high degree of effectiveness, and give equal opportunities to everyone in the group in order to divide and conquer tasks. It is simple for someone to slack on a job that can be done over several weeks, but with one day, we are able to drive those people into a certain task to achieve a more established goal. It was also extremely exciting to see different technology based booths that enhance learning."


"By doing this design challenge, it taught me how to cooperate with people that i don't normally work with, this will help me in the future because you won't always be working with the same people, you will have to work with people you don't get along with. This also taught me how to problem solve by thinking quick and fixing a problem instead of letting it get worse.

Next time, I think I would not take as much time to plan out what we were going to do because we took an hour to get our idea sorted out and we didn't have enough time to finish the actual product. The main challenge we faced was how we managed out time, we only had 4 hours to think of an idea and pitch it, we spent too much time thinking and planning instead of doing the actual work.

I was really proud of the overall outcome of our product. We only had 4 hours to do it but in that amount we thought of the idea, made a website, created a logo, made a model, made labels, thought of a group name, and create a slideshow. I was also really proud of the way we pitched out idea, we made it sound professional and we all evenly split the tasks and attracted people to our booth. By doing all that we won, but i was also very proud of the other team as well.

I think my best learning moment was when we were able to pitch our ideas to the adults at the convention center, it made me feel like I was apart of something, it also showed me how the real world was like and how you get treated when you are in the ‘workforce’.

I think the challenge we did at Niagara was more engaging because we didn't have lots of time to do it, it made me feel more motivated to work and help out. I think the design challenge at Niagara was more engaging in general, because it related to a real world issue and we were also able to pitch our ideas to adults instead of kids."

- Ria

Fair Chance Learning offers hands-on training on the HP Learning Studio, including Sprout Pro’s design features, 3D scanning, effective 3D printing and supports educators with a personalized experience using an array of makerspace tools. Contact us for more information: info@fairchancelearning.com.

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