CANstruction competition at Discovery Park, educational fun trips, charity, school competition, science museum, kids museum

CAN you believe these awesome structures were made out of cans? 10,418 cans to be exact!  Discovery Park of America hosted this region’s first ever CanStruction event on November 3rd.

Eight area schools competed, and the results are fantastic!  The structures were created in the Reelfoot Room at Discovery Park, and an Exhibit was born!  The CanStruction Exhibit will be on display at Discovery Park of America through the month of November, and is free to visit with park admission.

When the exhibit is dismantled, the cans will be given to three local charities:  Helping Hands, Chimes for Charity and Reelfoot Rural Ministries.  The result is 8,500 meals being provided to needy people in this area.  Local sponsors were Westan Insurance and Allen Searcy Building Contractors.  “Our sponsors provided the money to purchase cans for the schools to use,” Chris Gunlefinger explained.  “We couldn’t have done this without them,” he added.  According to the CanStruction rules, each school could raise money or do other activities to add additional cans to their exhibit.  “The sky is the limit,” Gunlefinger said.

The deadline for registration was September 8th of this year.  Gunlefinger has worked closely with the schools and provided the rules and framework for the competition.  “It was extremely helpful that the national organization behind CanStruction provided so many resources,” Gunlefinger explained.  “It is a great competition that allows the participants to engage in structural design, while also allowing them to make a positive impact on hunger in their communities,” he stated.

This was the first year for the park to host CanStruction.  CEO Jim Rippy was pleased that eight area schools agreed to participate.  “We think this will get bigger each year,” Rippy said.  “The local recipients of the food were thrilled,” Rippy said.  “This is just a great way for the schools to help feed the hungry in the community, while learning about design, engineering and even the artistic elements of creating a design out of cans.”

Prizes were awarded to the following schools for:

  • Juror’s Choice Award: Black Oak Elementary School
  • Juror’s Choice Honorable Mention #1: Obion County Central High School
  • Juror’s Choice Honorable Mention #2: Lake Road Elementary School
  • Best Use of Labels: Obion County Central High School
  • Best Overall Meal: Union City High School Skills USA Class
  • Structural Integrity: Black Oak Elementary School

The eight schools that participated were: South Fulton Middle School, Martin Middle School, Union City High School Art Dept., Union City High School Skills USA Class, Ridgemont Elementary, Obion County Central High School, Lake Road Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary and Black Oak Elementary.  Engineering students from UTM assisted the schools with their design concepts and plans, and were on hand to give advice during the build.

The CanStruction Exhibit will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. in the Reelfoot Room inside Discovery Center.  “We are excited for our guests to stroll through the amazing structures that the students built,” Gunlefinger said.  “It’s free for members, and anyone with park admission,” he added.

Discovery Park of America is located at 830 Everett Blvd. in Union City, TN. You can see the complete 2017 Calendar of Events, including upcoming educational and entertaining events, by visiting the website at www.discoveryparkofamerica.com .  In addition to offering educational and interesting traveling exhibits, the park is 50 acres of a unique blend of history, science, architecture, art and fun.