SAN DIEGO -- Jan. 29, 2004 -- Sally Ride and Hasbro, Inc. announced today that the registration deadline for the second annual TOYchallenge(TM) has been extended to February 16, 2004. The fun-fueled toy- and game-design competition aims to motivate and encourage girls and boys to use their science, engineering and design skills.
TOYchallenge was developed by Sally Ride, founder of Imaginary Lines, Inc. and the Sally Ride Science Club, Domenico Grasso, director of Smith College's Picker Engineering Program and Hasbro, Inc. as an outreach activity to engage middle school-age students, especially girls, in science and engineering and to inspire them to pursue careers in those fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprise only 9 percent of the engineering workforce. However, studies show that, in elementary school, equal numbers of girls and boys are interested in--and good at--math, science and technology. Unfortunately, beginning around the sixth grade, more girls than boys drift away from these subjects. While open to all U.S. students in grades five through eight, TOYchallenge focuses on catching girls' attention in these subjects in order to keep them in the engineering "pipeline."
"We exceeded all of our goals last year with the first TOYchallenge and were thrilled to have inspired more than 1,000 girls and boys around the country to have fun with science. We were so impressed by the level of creativity, communication, and sophistication that each team exhibited, and are really looking forward to making many more face-to-face connections via the addition of our regional showcase events," noted Sally Ride, founder of the Sally Ride Science Club.
Imaginative kids can easily join in the fun of TOYchallenge. To get started, design teams must: find an adult coach, and register before February 16, 2004 (registration fee is $25 per team); choose a theme from seven toy categories such as "Build It!," "Get out and Play," and "Remarkable Robots"; and create and submit by March 1, their Regional Showcase entry, consisting of a visual presentation, written description and early version of their original toy or game concept. Teams that cannot attend one of the regional events may mail in their written entry. In order to participate in the National Showcase, teams must then construct a working prototype or model of their design.
Regional Showcases will be held at venues including: Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. on March 6; Smith College in Northampton, Mass. on April 3; TOYchallenge partner COSI Columbus in Columbus, Ohio on April 17; and the new Sigma Xi Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C. on April 25. Additional regional events in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, Calif. will be announced soon. The winners of the contest, which is sponsored by Hasbro, Inc. and Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, will be announced at a National Showcase to be held at the San Diego Aerospace Museum in July.
TOYchallenge guidelines and registration forms are available at www.TOYchallenge.com. Both boys and girls in grades five through eight may participate, but at least half of the members of each team must be girls. All submissions will be judged on originality, creativity, engineering elegance, feasibility, design process description, team participation and clarity of communication. Five teams at each regional event will be awarded $250 development grants to go toward presenting their toy or game at the National Showcase. Category and grand prize winners will be announced at the July finals. There will also be special awards for team spirit, originality and engineering design at each event.
"In order to create imaginative and fun toys and games, our employees, both designers and engineers, use their math and science skills daily," said Karen Davis, vice president of community relations for Hasbro, Inc. "We hope that by creating a program that encourages kids to have fun while developing these skills, they will learn important tools, not only for school but for their future careers."
"Hands-on, real-world design is at the heart of engineering," said Grasso. "Designing innovative toys is challenging, creative, collaborative and fun. TOYchallenge showcases the best of engineering, engaging the minds and hearts of some of this country's best young students."
The Sally Ride Science Club(TM) is operated by Imaginary Lines, Inc., (www.ImaginaryLinesInc.com), a company founded by astronaut Sally Ride to support the large numbers of girls and young women who are, or might become, interested in science, math, and technology. The company organizes quality events, programs and activities for girls that empower them, engage them and encourage their interests. Programs include the Sally Ride Science Festivals; Sally Ride Science Camps; TOYchallenge, and the Sally Ride Science Club.
Hasbro, Inc. is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the country. Smith's Picker Engineering Program, the first such program at a U.S. women's college, is focused on developing broadly educated, engineers capable of assuming leadership roles in corporations, non-profit organizations and technology-related fields.
Sigma Xi (www.sigmaxi.org), The Scientific Research Society, is the international honor society that recognizes research achievement in science and engineering. The Society is a diverse organization with more than 70,000 members dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering. Sigma Xi publishes American Scientist magazine (www.amsci.org), sponsors a grant program for young researchers, organizes programs and services in the areas of ethics, science and engineering education, communication of science and engineering and international networking.
COSI Columbus has made science fun through hands-on discovery for 40 years. It ranks among the country's most respected science centers, generating innovative educational programs tailored to support national and statewide science curriculum and standards. Signature programs such as the overnight adventure for Girl Scouts, Camp-In, and the pre-school exhibition area little kidspace, are now mainstays in museums across the country. COSI supports tomorrow's leaders with enriching experiences today. www.cosi.org.