OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge (OPSPARC) 2015-2016
The RealWorld-InWorld Engineering Design Challenge was a part of the newly renamed OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge (OPSPARC) for school year 2015-2016.
The newest incarnation of the challenge provided contestants, students in grades 3 through 12, with a new tool, developed by Glogster, for creating and submitting their entries. Glogster is a cloud-based platform for presentation and interactive learning. The tool will allow contestants to combine different kinds of media on a virtual canvas to create multimedia posters and to access an existing library of educational content created by students and educators worldwide. Contestants created Glogs of their own as part of OPSPARC that will include information on spinoffs and NASA missions, and video describing their own ideas for a new NASA spinoff technology.
Twenty teams of students in grades 9 through 12, after completing their Glogs, were invited to work with college student mentors to further develop their spinoff concept within a 3-D, multi-user, virtual world setting through creation of computer-aided design (CAD) models and application of engineering and business analyses on their spinoff concepts. This year's InWorld portion of the contest was sponsored by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope project.
Students who submit the winning entries in each age category will visit NASA Goddard for an awards ceremony and workshop to be held in their honor. The workshop will include a behind-the-scenes look at Goddard, the chance to meet some of the top minds at NASA, and the opportunity for the students to design and create their own public service announcement video with guidance from NASA video producers and actor Peter Cullen, the voice of the TRANSFORMERS character OPTIMUS PRIME. One of the two high school winners of the 2014-2015 contest, Kelly DeRees, described her experience at the workshop as, “...a wonderful experience that I'll never forget, and I really appreciate the time you took to make it all work.”