South Central College Students create Ball Course for Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota
Whimsical educational feature installed and ready for play on Thursday, January 7
(January 6, 2015) - South Central College (SCC) and the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota have teamed up to develop a special “Ball Course” that will teach children about science and engineering as they play. The Ball Course, which was manufactured by SCC’s Computer Integrated Machining (CIM) students, will be an integral component of the museum’s two-level Makers Space beginning January 7.
The CIM students, under the leadership of instructor Jon Morgan, took on the semester-long project this past fall, taking the Ball Course through all the stages of manufacturing process, from prototype design through fabrication. Along the way they continued to test and improve upon the design to ensure the Ball Course would be fun, educational and able to withstand the rigors of children’s play.
The final product exceeded even the Children’s Museum’s expectations. Deb Johnson, Education and Exhibit Director said, “I can’t wait to see children’s eye light up when they play with the ball course. It is well built and will surprise children – how often do you get to see a steel ball floating and rolling in space? I hope children and parents will appreciate the design intent and care that went into manufacturing this high quality museum exhibit component!”
The Ball Course provides children with the hands-on experience of moving a ball through a maze by turning dials and pushing buttons, which generate unexpected actions and sounds.
“This has been a tremendously rewarding project for our students, who take pride not only in the superior product they produced, but also their ability to use their skills to contribute to the community in this special way,” said Morgan.
South Central College is a comprehensive community and technical college that is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, with campuses in Faribault and North Mankato. In addition to Computer Integrated Machining, the college’s Advanced Manufacturing programs include Mechatronics and Welding. South Central College also offers programs in Agribusiness, Building and Design, Transportation, Business, Allied Health and Nursing, Human Services, Arts and Communications and Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota’s vision is to be the catalyst for building a stronger, more vibrant community around play so that all children in our region share in a bright future of opportunity and well-being. The museum opened its doors to its permanent museum in May of 2015 and has had over 65,000 visitors to date.
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