Barrett Wins National NASA Optimus Prime Spinoff Challenge


Posted by Laurie Sullivan at 4/24/2015

Dan Drone

Principal Redding’s shares the good news at Friday’s Virtual Assembly (see 2:05) We are proud to announce that Barrett’s project, The Volcanic Exploration Drone, won the elementary school level NASA Optimus Prime Spinoff Challenge!! Congratulations to our winning team of 5th graders Erick, Jackson, Kate & Stevie! students

The students worked with Mrs. Cohen & Dr. Sullivan through many lunches brainstorming, reading NASA spinoff books and websites, discussing problems and solutions, and writing the script. Also, thanks go to the creative Ms. Shaw for offering excellent suggestions and filming the students.

Cohen lunch Brainstorming

We thank Barrett students & teachers who voted for our project while at school and for everyone who voted on their home computers & mobile devices. We also appreciate educators at other Arlington schools for their words of encouragement & tweeting in votes. The public voting earned 4 points for Barrett on the 40 point rubric.

Tiger TV Studio

A panel of NASA judges ranked Barrett’s project based upon the following criteria:

  • Understanding: Did the video demonstrate and convey an age appropriate level of understanding of the technology, the associated NASA project/mission, and the commercial spinoff application/benefit?
  • Engaging: Was the video captivating and interesting? Was there a compelling argument why the spinoff story chosen is important?
  • Creativity: Did the participant(s) present the spinoff in an inventive or creative way? Does it stand out from the rest of the entries?
  • Critical Thinking: Is an additional spinoff opportunity identified? (One that is not currently used in the public sector.)

run from volcano

Click here to watch Barrett’s Volcanic Exploration Drone video Optimus

OPTIMUS PRIME is more than just a well recognized name from TV and movies; it is a great analogy for NASA technology transfer and therefore, an excellent teaching tool. OPTIMUS PRIME began in space and transformed itself in order to come to Earth; OPTIMUS PRIME goes undetected and helps people while protecting them. Similarly, NASA technologies, though designed for space applications, are often modified and transformed to go into everyday products used on Earth; they often go undetected and often help people. Photos of the students in action: