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DareDevil Design

Two DareDevil Design students working with teacher
From tackling a pigeon poop problem at Kirtland Air Force Base to designing innovative Future Cities that strive to make the world a better place, Sandia Prep’s DareDevil Design students engage in real-world, interdisciplinary lessons.

In this popular full-year elective, sixth- and seventh-grade DareDevils develop products, ideas, and projects to help communities. In a workshop environment in Sandia Prep’s Autonomous Creative Environment (SPACE), they engage in creative, critical, and constructive processes that teach everything from design and engineering to teamwork. Check out what's happening in our DareDevil Design classes in the updates below:
DareDevil Design Students at Kirtland AirForce Base
Thanks to some messy pigeons at Kirtland Air Force Base, sixth- and seventh-grade students in Sandia Prep's DareDevil Design class recently garnered high praise and a surprise check.
Hangars where the Air Force houses and maintains the V-22 Osprey are being overrun with pigeons and their droppings. As part of the Air Force Research Lab's (AFRL) Enterprize Challenge to solve this issue, the DareDevils brought prototypes to the base and questioned military personnel about the poop problem.
The pigeons and their droppings have created major health hazards for the Air Force personnel as well as aircraft maintenance problems (for instance, the droppings destroy the paint on the aircraft). Air Force personnel are using over 150 hours per month to keep the pigeons and their mess at bay, which has become unsustainable and is detracting from their primary responsibilities of maintaining and fixing aircraft. The challenge called for participants to come up with an out-of-the-box solution that did not include netting or harming the pigeons.
The top two DareDevil teams traveled to the Lobo Rainforest as special guests at the final round of the challenge. One team presented a concept for a pigeon re-homing system that would humanely entice the birds to leave the hangar and relocate to an artificial habitat off base. The second team presented a concept for a robotic radio-controlled (RC) owl placed on a magnetic levitated track in the hangar rafters. The robotic owl would engage when pigeons appear in the hangar and move along the track, making it undesirable for the pigeons to roost.
The AFRL committee was so impressed with the work and solutions both Prep teams innovated and presented, they felt it warranted an opportunity to pitch alongside the top three start-up companies. Afterward, the DareDevil teams were surprised and presented with a check in the amount of $500 to go toward the DareDevil Design program as a recognition of the work and innovation they put into their solutions.

The sixth- and seventh-grade DareDevils headed downtown recently to check out the Discovery STEM Festival. Students spent the morning at hands-on, interactive booths that included an escape room, robotics and coding, medicine, and drones and military technology.


As part of the Lantern Project, DareDevils practiced the methodology of Design Thinking - principally, determining how and why they want to help a certain demographic or group of people in need. Students gave short presentations explaining their empathize process.


DareDevil Design students met recently to go over their ideas and solutions for Future City projects with Ross Pino, Maintenance Superintendent for the Chama Water Treatment plant. They learned the current processes and technology used to take water from the Rio Grande and make it potable. They gathered tips on how to improve their own prototypes for devices to produce clean drinking water, and later took a field trip to the water treatment plant.