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What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

Algonquin students capture top honours in Skills Ontario Junk Drawer Races

Students from Algonquin Road Public School used common items found at home and in the classroom to design cars, gliders and cranes for the innovative Skills Ontario Junk Drawer Races. They garnered four medals for their efforts, a testament to their abilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Medal recipients were announced during the regional virtual ceremony on January 12, 2024.

Junk Drawer Races are virtual competitions that help students hone skills in technology and the trades. The program promotes sustainability by using recyclables or low-cost materials ($10 or less).

To compete, students were tasked to prepare a project plan based on grade-specific curriculum, develop a captivating video of their project in action, and submit a snapshot of their final work. Judging criteria included performance, planning and creativity.

“Beyond the thrill of competition, these challenges offer students authentic, real-world problem-solving experiences that serve as an excellent introduction to the vast realm of trades and STEM,” says Ryan Crouch, Algonquin Road Public School teacher and team supervisor. “In the process, students gain critical thinking skills and resilience – qualities that will serve them beyond the classroom or competition arena.”

In the Cardboard Car Races category, teams were required to design and construct functional cardboard cars that exhibit a harmonious blend of design aesthetics and engineering precision.

Grade 4 students Jayden Tann, Jaiv Patel and Mattew Lewis-Yuill of Algonquin Team 1 captured gold for their cardboard car, while Caleb Kolari, Jack Mallory, Nolan MacDonell and Hudson Welsh of Algonquin Team 2 garnered silver.

“This is the first cardboard car I have ever built,” says Jayden Tann. “I couldn’t believe we won gold!”

Jayden Tann, left, Matthew Lewis-Yuill and Jaiv Patel of Algonquin Team 1 captured gold in the Cardboard Car Challenge.
Algonquin Team 2 members Jack Mallory, left, Nolan MacDonell, Hudson Welsh and Caleb Kolari garnered silver in the Cardboard Car Challenge.

The Paper Glider Challenge tested students’ understanding of physics and material science by highlighting their ability to turn simple materials into high-performing flying machines.

Algonquin Team 3, consisting of Grade 6 students Gibson St. Amant and Tavish Irving, tested their aerodynamic proficiency and earned a well-deserved bronze.

Algonquin Team 3 members Tavish Irving, left, and Gibson St. Amant tested aerodynamic proficiency earning bronze in the Paper Glider Challenge.

Ethan Querney, Grade 7, and Ryan Pham, Grade 8, of Algonquin Team 4, outshone competitors and claimed gold in the Hydraulic Crane Challenge. Students showcased their exceptional engineering skills by crafting a hydraulic crane with precision, demonstrating a deep understanding of mechanical principles.

Ethan Querney, left, and Ryan Pham of Algonquin Team 4 outshone competitors and claimed gold in the Hydraulic Crane Challenge.

“Competing against teams from across the north adds a layer of intensity to the challenges,” says Ryan Crouch. “Our students displayed technical acumen, ingenuity, unwavering dedication and collaboration, earning the admiration of peers and judges alike.”

All four teams will advance to the Skills Ontario Junk Drawer Races championships to compete against top-tier teams from across the province. The winners will be announced during a championship ceremony on Friday, April 19, 2024.

“These challenges serve as the ultimate platform for our students to showcase their talents on a larger scale,” says Trevor Dewit, Principal of Algonquin Road Public School. “Their success brings pride to our school community and reinforces the belief that with dedication, innovation and co-operation, the possibilities are endless.”

He adds: “Congratulations to our talented students. We wish you continued success at the provincial championships. Go Tigers!”


Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171, ext. 7217.