Riontae Zeigler is on a mission to help his team win first place at “A World in Motion Jet Toy Challenge” sponsored by Kia.
These balloon-powered jet toys are also powered by heart, soul and determination. Riontae says he’s keeping his mind on the task at hand.
“We’re just gonna focus on what we’re doing,” he says.
These teams are pushing the limits and their patience in designing and building their vehicles.
“We’re trying to make a car with a small tube so it will go the farthest.”
These Georgia and Alabama fifth graders want to win.
Participant Catalina Starr is up for the challenge.
“We tried not going in the center and going a little sideways and putting some borders around it so the balloon won’t go back and forth and wrinkle.”
Teacher Kristi Ferguson says her students are learning valuable lessons.
“These kids need to be able to solve a problem without having the answer right at their fingertips so it’s teaching them to be problem solvers, thinkers and innovators.”
The competition isn’t just about learning or having fun, it’s also about preparing these students for the future.
Chris Ciuca, the Director of Pre-Professional Education for SAE, International, says it’s also good for the community.
“These students will be working someday and we want them working in this community.
Maybe even in the Kia plant. So we want them sticking around.”
The competition didn’t quite turn out like these junior engineers had hoped, but Riontae can still hold his head high, knowing failures also lead to success.
Until success comes, the adults in these students’ lives are cheering them on. Not only in races, but also in life.