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Real-world learning allows young designers to shine

ACG School Jakarta Middle School students were empowered to participate in a dynamic new initiative this year – the ACG Racers Challenge. To succeed in this high-octane and fiercely contested unit, students needed to combine their learning from across a wide range of subjects, from science and physics to art and music.
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Real-world learning allows young designers to shine

The ACG Racers Challenge has been a calendar highlight for Year 7, 8 and 9 cohorts at ACG School Jakarta. This integrated initiative, developed by the Middle School design technology team, required students to produce high-end luxury car models that celebrate both form and function. However, this exciting project was far more than just a simple design task.

Spearheaded by Arts Team Leader and Design Technology Teacher Mark Ellison, the ACG Racers Challenge enabled students to apply the knowledge and skills they developed throughout the 2021-2022 academic year in a fun and interactive real-world manner. 

Numerous ACG educators worked collaboratively across the project, which saw students design computer-generated models and create digital prototypes of the cars on a 3D printer before racing them in real-time on a pre-constructed track to determine and assess actual speeds. They share the details of the part each subject played below.

Abraham Devis – Physics and Science 
"This year, students have been learning about Aerodynamics (the study of forces and the resulting motion of objects through the air). They have focused on how these concepts can be applied to the project. For example, at high speed, air resistance (drag) tremendously affects how a car accelerates. Students were asked to develop innovations that make cutting through that "wall" of air easier with less of an impact on daily driving.

"Problem-solving plays a considerable role in preparing students for life, and education should not be just about passively passing on knowledge but creating active learners. It has to help students develop explicit skills and give them the tools they need to understand why what they're learning is useful and how it leads to achieving their goals. Real-world examples must be incorporated to maximise learning experiences."

Mark Ellison - Design Technology (Computer Modelling)
"Learning about CAD software (Computer-Aided Design) has been a fantastic opportunity for our students. As a result, they have been able to integrate skills learned across platforms and applications that intensify their knowledge of 3D programmes while also investigating spatial awareness in a way that would not necessarily be possible using two-dimensional drawings. They have built on existing expertise and applied new learning techniques to accommodate different situations and tasks.

"There are several takeaways from this unit, including understanding the relevance of integrated disciplines (and the effect these disciplines have on the decisions students make) when creating their products. Plus, by working in groups, our students have developed their leadership skills through team bonding, disagreements, conflict resolution and the delegation of tasks based on strengths and preferences. The more students develop these skill sets, the more they are inclined to collaborate, innovate, and extend their critical and creative thinking to any situation and future setting."

Olivia Owen - Art & Design (Year 9 integrated unit)
"The theme for this Year 9 unit was mixing vintage cars with street art. Students researched and investigated many vintage racing cars and applied this visual inspiration to create modern, vibrant and energetic car design paintings. Working with their choice of oil pastels, acrylic painting and colour pencils, students experimented with these media and learnt how to apply them and mix them together in their compositions. Finally, their work was displayed as a presentation on a screen during the ACG Racers Challenge event.

"The unit was hugely successful, and it was great to see the Year 9 class's enthusiasm for learning about racing cars and car design. They were fascinated with artist Jean Michel Basquiat, taking on his influences of style and techniques and creating a composition that has vibrant colour, movement and energy."

Tia Kusmugiarti - Art & Design (Year 7: Pop Art and Year 8: Surrealism)
"Year 7 students learnt about the Pop Art style, while Year 8 students learnt about the Surrealism art style. Students applied grid drawing techniques, art movement and style and discovered what specific aesthetics are important for car design. Students generated creative works in various media by employing fantasy and dream imagery. They reflected throughout the creative process to challenge their thinking and enact new and unusual possibilities in their selection, research, and understanding of how to develop an idea or theme for an artwork.

"As this was an integrated unit, students could make connections and show their prior knowledge and in-depth learning with other subjects such as Art & Design, Design Technology, Music, and Science. The project was also a celebration of students' creativity at all year levels, delivering a range of learning outcomes, skills, and final artwork products."

Shinta Valentine – Music
"The soundtrack was an incredibly valuable aspect of the project when students made their' final pitch' at the ACG Racers Challenge exhibition, as it helped them to develop and share the identity of the car they had designed. Students were required to create their soundtrack using a variety of software to capture the audience's attention and establish an emotional connection with the product.

"They were encouraged to explore music from current advertisements, looking at the theme, the instruments used and its characteristics. So, for example, to create a bright and happy atmosphere, they could use brass instruments. Or, to make a catchy jingle, they might use any high-pitched instrument from the woodwind family. By developing a sound knowledge of music theory – about rhythm, chords, notations and harmonisation – students then had the knowledge they needed to write a full music score."

The ACG Racers Challenge was an outstanding project filled with excitement, dedication and enthusiasm. Delivering specific knowledge and skills, it allowed our Middle School students to question and think critically, drawing connections between their studies and real-world situations. 

This exceptional competition recently concluded in an amazing online exhibition, with the Year 9 Prime Palatials team (featuring Rob Ten Have, Devansh Bahuguna, Rafael Battja and Ryowa Mita, Ali Imran) taking top honours in the contest.