Students in the Innovation Alive Challenge summer program at Indian Trail Junior High School in Addison recently visited a local manufacturing company, Pioneer Service Inc., and had the opportunity to see a manufacturing operation firsthand.
President/owner Aneesa Muthana welcomed the students to Pioneer Service and commended them for spending time learning during their summer vacation.
Director of Sales Eric Smith showed the students machines that create machine parts and Quality Inspector Yousef Muthana introduced students to a variety of machines and tools that are used to guarantee quality control.
The 28 Indian Trail students were taking a four-week Innovation Alive Challenge, where they are learning about STEM and business in a hands-on setting. This program, developed by the Science & Entrepreneurship Exchange, has students working together to create a startup based around a product of their own invention -- in this case, lamps.
The students have done market research, polling potential customers to see what features are important to them in a lamp that would be used in a child's room. Each team of students has worked together to come up with a lamp concept to design their lamp and to build a prototype.
The students brought their prototypes and designs to Pioneer, where they had the opportunity to give practice presentations of their products to their hosts. Company personnel offered feedback and suggestions that might improve each product's marketability.
The final two weeks of IAC had students working on cost and pricing determination, marketing, and fine-tuning their prototypes in preparation for a "shark tank"-like presentation that will be made on the last day of class.
Teams pitched their products to a panel of business people, competing with other student teams across the country to have their design chosen for manufacturing by Land of Nod, a children's furniture retailer.