The Children Museum's newest display was designed and built by Diman students
Diman principal Andrew Rebello, assistant principal Maria Torres, and students Kaden Sampson, Colin Mignault, Kyle Medeiros, Bianca Silva, and Brandon Costa with the mock NASA control panels the students created for the Children's Museum of Greater Fall River - Audrey Cooney/Herald News Photo
Mock rocket control panels at the Children's Museum of Greater Fall River that were designed by Diman electronics students - Audrey Cooney/Herald News Photo
Mock rocket control panels at the Children's Museum that were designed by Diman electronics students - Audrey Cooney/Herald News
FALL RIVER — Built by teens, for kids: the newest display in the Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River was designed and built entirely by students at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School.
“It encompasses so much of what we do and it turns it into a thing kids will actually use,” said Paul Beaudoin, senior electronics teacher at Diman. “It’s a pretty creative project.”
Students recently installed a mock NASA control panel in the museum’s space-themed play room. Two panels, one more complex for slightly older children and another for smaller kids, are covered with buttons that play spaced-themed sound effects and clips from the film "Apollo 13" — like Tom Hank’s iconic line “Houston, we have a problem.” With glowing lights and labels like “lift off” and “rocket boost,” the panels let kids imagine themselves at the helm of a space ship.
The students, all from the school’s electronics and robotic technology program, designed several prototypes for the boards, then used tools like a laser cutter to make the panels, constructed the copper wiring for underneath and programmed them to play the right sounds.
While designing the boards, students said they had to keep in mind elements that would make it appealing to young children. They updated their designs with changes like making the buttons studier, harder for a child to break.
“Hopefully some little kids will use this and go on to consider the electronics and robotics program at Diman,” said Colin Migneault, a senior at Diman and one of the students who worked on the project.
Most of their class projects are just that — in the classroom, or shop. But with this, students created something that can be used by anyone who visited the museum.
“We’re used to building things just for ourselves and learning that way,” said Diman senior Kyle Medeiros, who worked on the project. “For the public to use this is really cool.”