Theme Park Design Competition Comes to Campus

The Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi) within the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas recently hosted the IE Challenge, an amusement park design competition for middle- and high-school students. An all-time high 43 teams, consisting of two students each, entered this year’s event.

 Using the computer game Roller Coaster Tycoon, each team designed a unique theme park and wrote an essay describing their thought process. The parks were judged by a panel of current University of Arkansas engineering professors and students on various aspects like layout, the park’s queuing system, personnel management, quality control and profitability.

The top-ten teams were invited to the Bell Engineering Center on the University of Arkansas campus to demonstrate their park design. They were given five minutes to make a PowerPoint presentation to the panel of judges. Then, the teams were assigned a complex scenario and given 45 minutes to address it.

Two teams—one from the junior division (grades 6-8) and one from the senior division (grades 9-12)—were crowned first place champions. The junior division champions were Spencer Heald and Caleb Velez from Gravette Middle School, and the senior division champions were Dillan Sims and Zac Laird of Benton County School of the Arts. Both teams received a $600 check, trophies and a plaque for their school. Second and third place awards were also given, as well as honorable mention.

The IE Challenge is sponsored by the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program through the National Science Foundation. The goal of the challenge is to introduce middle- and high-school students to the world of industrial engineering by having them design a manufacturing process for a product. The RET representatives for the IE Challenge are Randall Reynolds of Gravette Middle School and Melissa Miller of Lynch Middle School in Farmington. University of Arkansas engineering professors Ed Pohl and Richard Cassady mentor Reynolds and Miller in conjunction with CELDi, and organize the event on behalf of the University of Arkansas.

See more at the IE Challenge home page.

Release date: 5/7/2012