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First Make48 of 2024: Home Run!

The teams of the first Make48 of Season 8 knocked the challenge out of the park! This iteration’s challenge centered on Stadium Innovation. 7 teams from Project Lead The Way classrooms around Missouri converged on UMKC’s campus to go head to head for $2,000 and the custom-made trophy. 

Season 8 kicked off at The University of Missouri-Kansas City

Day 1 was full of brainstorming and ideating. While one team came up with their idea fast which gave them a running start, most teams had two or three ideas that they had to narrow down. The day passed in a whirlwind of conversations, with many teams chatting with mentors to hone in on the broader applications of their ideas. These conversations proved useful as many teams stated that the mentors helped them uncover which of their ideas was a cut above the rest. The teams also spoke with patent attorneys and a focus group about their ideas, who were similarly helpful in guiding their ideation process and making each team feel assured that their idea was the one to win it all.

12 tool technicians at umkc
Tool Techs keep the teams on task

Day 2 started with a run to Westlake Ace to get materials for the building process. All teams were on the bus bright and early and excited to get into the aisles to get their supplies. The bustle of the shopping spree was no match for the hustle the teams applied once they returned to UMKC’s campus. Although patent attorneys were still available to the teams, each team had firmly cemented their idea by the end of Day 1 and were quickly pursuing prototyping on Day 2. 

Westlake Ace Hardware materials and tool run with teams

The teams worked with tool techs to get their ideas into the fabrication stage, and the tool techs were impressed by how well-prepared the students were for the Make48 environment. Each student had come to us from Project Lead The Way schools, so they were familiar with elements of engineering and design that they would use throughout the prototyping process. Many students even knew how to work with software like Onshape and had prior experience with CAD design! The tool techs were wowed at how capable the students were. 

Most teams had a late night on Day 2 and rushed in the morning of Day 3 eager to wrap up their prototypes and get started on their pitch presentations. The presentation was made up of two parts: a one-minute video and a live pitch. The teams scattered throughout the UMKC Innovation Studio at the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center to polish their presentations and put the final touches on their videos. Anticipation climbed until the clock ran out halfway through Day 3. The teams then staged their prototypes in the library where judging would take place, and had some downtime before judging began. 

4 judges sitting at table in lecture hall with teams behind them
Judge Panel: Mark Byrd (New Reflections), Jason Rausch (Project Lead The Way), Chioma Atanmo (Sporting KC), and Kristie Larson (DeBruce Foundation)

The judges had their work cut out for them since each team had produced a unique, viable, and outstanding product to tackle the challenge of Stadium Experience Innovation. For the first time, there was a Best Use of Agilities© Award, which went to Tiger Innovations from Excelsior Springs, MO. The award for Best Pitch went to Team [Redacted] from Columbia, MO. Lastly, the winner of the grand prize was Innovation Hall Bears from Willow Springs, MO! The Innovation Hall Bears had lots of kind words for their competitors celebrating that the competition was full of skilled engineers, and headed home to share the news with their hometown.

Slider: Innovation Hall Bears from Willow Springs High, [Redacted] from Columbia Area Career Center and Tiger Innovations from Excelsior Springs H.S.

The winning team will make their way to Nationals, to take place in November at Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City. Make48 is back on the road next month to Wilson, Arkansas. Learn more about the competitions and this upcoming season at

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