Creating A Spark


It might look like fun and games, but these students are doing more than just playing around, and putting their STEM knowledge to the test, building circuits out of Play-Doh. 

“We had a plan and not all plans work out,” Audrey Walters said.  

12th grader Audrey Walters was one of more than 40 kids who participated in Rose-Hulman’s SPARK event. 

SPARK Stands for student projects advocating resourceful knowledge. 

The free event draws high school students from across the country and helps spark their future careers in STEM. 

Walters traveled from Evansville to attend her first spark event. 

But the competition was anything but ordinary. 

“It’s really fun,” Walters said. “I wasn’t actually sure what this competition would be it’s a lot different than I though it would be. And this just came with no instructions and it was super open ended.” 

Every year the challenge changes. 

This year, teams of both high school and Rose-Hulman students were stumped trying to create an interactive game out of a bag of items that included Play-Doh and duct tape. 
As well as create and program their own circuit board in 2 hours. 

“This is just something that is really unique that even like I’m a computer engineer and I work with circuits a lot and I did not know you could use Play-Doh in circuits,” Taylor Frey said. “So I think even some of the college students who will be here today will get to see that new experience of using Play-Doh in circuits.” 

For Walters’ team their game didn’t pan out. 

But just participating in Saturday’s event has her excited for the future. 

“Knowing that it’s okay to fail,” Walters said. “That’s a really good take away from this. You don’t have to succeed every time. I’m every glad I came.” 

Later on in the day teams competed in a second competition. 

Where they used copper tape and more play dough to design a sculpture.

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