We were proud to host the first-ever Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) Engineering Conference in Chicago on May 22. Over 50 students attended the program from four local high schools: Fasman Yeshiva High School, Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School, ICJA and Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. Congratulations to Noah Brody, who received the Overall Engineering Achievement award.

The conference was a culmination of a new freshman level STEM course at all of the schools, rooted in principles of engineering, including: programming, electronics and 3D design. The curriculum was developed by CIJE, and a CIJE Engineering Specialist worked with the students and teacher Mr. Jonathan Keller at ICJA. In the second half of the year, students invented and designed a device that solves a societal issue or improves upon a process. Students showcased the projects which they had designed, built and tested over the last several months at the Engineering Conference. After the showcase, participants heard from a speaker, Steven Morris, founder and CEO of a local startup called BIOLIFE4D.

Congratulations to all of the STEM students, especially the winners of the four awards granted at the conference.

Overall Engineering Achievement

Great Ball Contraption by Noah Brody from Ida Crown Jewish Academy. The Great Ball Contraption project was a sight to see. It used motors programmed to carry plastic balls around a track, of which many components were custom designed and 3D-printed.

Most Innovative Project

Angel Wings by Ami Mashiach, Moshe Shapiro and Ariel Netanel from Fasman Yeshiva High School.

The Angel Wings team designed floaties for children that could record GPS data and pulse sensing data, such as BPM, to be displayed on a parent’s phone via Bluetooth.

Best Presentation

Walk-N-Text by Sophie Kaufman and Daphne Budin from Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. The Walk-N-Text team impressed its audience with an outstanding poster and “pitch” for their device, which attached to a cell phone and consisted of a distance sensor and buzzer that alarms the user if their head is down while texting and they are about to approach something. The team supported their project with humorous video footage of people tripping over things, proving the (unfortunate but true) demand for their product.

Best Teamwork

Emergency Vehicle Locator by Tamar Dimbert, Leah Zeiler and Sara Wexler from Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School. The Emergency Vehicle team considered the challenges of driving if one is deaf and how one may safely acknowledge an emergency vehicle. They used wifi devices to send a signal from a mini ambulance prototype with a siren buzzer and red and blue flashing lights to a second car prototype that received the signal and lit up an LED strip. The team’s hard work and collaboration were recognized by their teacher and the judges.