By Kyle Shohara
Class was in session – in a rather large classroom – Tuesday morning at Honda Center, where the Ducks hosted the club's largest S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education) event of the year - the First Flight Field Trip.
The award-winning educational program, which places an emphasis on the processes of design and engineering, welcomed over 16,000 elementary students (grades 3-6) from over 160 schools for a day of education and hockey. The field trip was divided into two parts. The “Playground” segment took place from 8-10:30 a.m. where children experienced interactive exhibits provided by like-minded community members and corporate organizations in the Honda Center parking lot. The “Classroom” segment took place from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Honda Center’s arena bowl. Students and teachers traveled from as far away as the High Desert and Imperial Valley for this one-of-a-kind educational experience.
This year’s theme was “Build a Better Puck,” and students were tasked with the challenge of building a better puck by creating their own 3D puck design with different sizes, weights and materials. This year, the Ducks teamed up with Autodesk to create a step-by-step Tinkercad lesson to teach students about 3D printing and design. Students referred to a workbook which explored how engineering affects their daily lives using examples on the ice at Honda Center. With the combination of the workbook and live interviews with players, students learned about the history, making, movements and future of the hockey puck.
Although many of the Ducks have participated in this unique field trip at least once before, it was a first-time experience for others, including center Nate Thompson.
“You could definitely tell the kids were having a lot of fun out there,” he said. “They weren’t quiet, that’s for sure. It was good to get the kids out there to see us practice. They got to see what goes on when we’re not playing games. Plus with the whole puck experiment, you could tell they were having a lot of fun with that. It was a good event today, and it was a lot of fun.”
Perhaps the coolest part of the event was seeing three designs that were ultimately chosen (from over 500 design submissions) on the ice for the players to use and showcase. A fourth design, created with the answers given by the players as to what they thought would make a better puck, was also used. In all, 16 pucks (four of each kind) were manufactured by Autodesk, and each of the four teams used a uniquely designed puck throughout the on-ice portion of the field trip.
The following schools were awarded 3D printers and workstations:
Hannah Yoon’s classroom – Merton E. Hill Elementary School (Garden Grove)
Laura Camastro’s classroom – Turtle Rock Elementary School (Irvine)
Kim Brook’s classroom – Canyon Vista Elemantary School (Aliso Viejo)
The recipient of the player-designed puck also received a 3D printer and workstation:
Alice Cha’s classroom – Hermosa Drive Elementary School (Fullerton)
“The whole experience for them is great,” said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. “They get to come and experience something that a lot of kids don’t get to do. For us, it’s fun to see them all out there.”
To end the event, the Ducks held a skills competition that featured a longest shot contest, relay race and hardest shot contest. The four puck designs were used in each competition, and only Thompson and Patrick Maroon were able to hit the back of the net from 200 feet away. A loud cheer erupted from the students when both players scored, and equally loud groans were given to those players who came close.
Getzlaf had the crowd abuzz when his slap shot registered 98 miles per hour on the speed gun. Try as they might, no other Duck was able to match Getzlaf’s shot, though Devante Smith-Pelly’s shot registered 92 on the gun.
Before the Ducks left the ice, many of them tossed pucks into the crowd as souvenirs for a day of learning and fun. Perhaps they made a few new fans in the process.
“I’m glad that many kids take interest in the game,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “If it’s their first introduction to being in the Honda Center or watching hockey, and that jumpstarts them into becoming a hockey player, or participating in hockey, that’s what it’s all about. We all want this sport to continue to grow. That’s why this is a great thing.”
For more information regarding the First Flight Field Trip, please visit DucksScore.com.