Cash awards, prizes for best student-designed toys

Sally Ride Science, Smith College, Hasbro Inc., Southwest Airlines, Sony Corp., and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, are giving students in grades five through eight the chance to step out of their classrooms and broaden their engineering, science, and design skills by creating their dream toy for the TOYchallenge program. The mission of this fun-fueled toy and game design competition is to motivate kids, especially girls, to pursue science, engineering, and education careers. TOYchallenge 2006 will launch on September 12. To participate, design teams must find an adult coach (18 years of age or older) and sign up (the fee is $25 per team); choose from themed-toy categories such as “Games for the Family,” “Get out and Play,” and “Toys that Teach”; and create and submit their preliminary-round entry, which consists of a written description and visual presentation of their original toy or game concept. National showcases and a final judging and awards ceremony will follow. Both boys and girls in grades five through eight may participate, but at least half of the members of each team must be girls. All submissions will be judged on originality, creativity, engineering elegance, feasibility, design process description, team participation, and clarity of communication. (Note: Sign-up period ends Dec. 31; preliminary entries are due in early January.)

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