More from Student Group Working With WHM

Visit to Crystal Caves: Gathering Information and New Ideas (11/3/13)

Today we visited Crystal Caves in Auburn, MA. While we were unable to interview visitors to the course (due to the lack of visitors which was probably caused by the cold weather), we were able to play through the course and speak with one of its designers. The course had eighteen holes, and there were a few things that really stood out to us about the course. Some of the holes had multiple cups for people to hit their ball into, and all but one cup was covered up with some object (such as a rock). This allows the course owner to move the rocks around to cover up different cups, so they can make a slight ‘modification’ to the hole without having to actually rebuild anything. This is something we could possibly add to our course. Second, we took note of a hole that let you hit the ball into a cup, and your ball would go down a tube, over a small wooden bridge, and onto another section of the hole. Finally, the course had “Mischief Spinners” featured at a few holes. These were spinners that had various tasks written on them, such as “Putt with one hand” or “Move someone’s ball to a different spot, no farther than the length of your club.” These “Mischief Spinners” make the game more interesting and advanced. This is something we could possibly incorporate into our course.We also had the opportunity to speak with one of the course’s designers/owners, Debbie Powell. Debbie Powell is a WPI alumn, and we were able to introduce ourselves to her and have a casual conversation about WPI and Crystal Caves. We also made plans with her to interview her later this week. Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and we are very excited to get to speak with Debbie soon!

Busy Week Ahead: Meeting With Teachers, Students, and Course Owners (11/5/2013)

This week is a very busy week for our team! This week alone, we have scheduled eight interviews and focus groups with various individuals, ranging from students to miniature golf course designers. To start, we have spoken on the phone and/or via email with six miniature golf course owners/designers so far. All of the course owners/designers have been very excited to speak with us! We’ve received PDFs about course design, course construction, how to choose themes for holes, examples of themes that these businesses have made, photographs of their holes they’ve made, and answers to our questions we’ve asked them.In terms of meeting with children, we have met with first graders today and had a lot of fun doing so! They were very talkative and gave us valuable information as well. We were surprised at how talkative they were. We will also be speaking with second grade students on Thursday, and we can use our experience with the first graders in order to improve our questions for the second set of students.Tomorrow we are meeting with Connie Oullette, a teacher at the Midlen St. School. We are also meeting with Carol Manning, a physical education teacher, and the occupational therapist at her school, in order to discuss our project. On Thursday we are meeting with Lise Regelle, a teacher at the Worcester Arts Magnet School. On Friday we are meeting with Debbie Powell, the designer of the Crystal Caves Miniature Golf Course, to discuss her course. Finally, we are going to Trombetta’s Farm with a group of twelve children to watch them play on their miniature golf course and speak with them (along with speaking to their parents) afterwards.

On Track With Themes, and New Considerations for Criteria (11/6/2013)

Today we met with Mrs. Oullette, a first grade teacher at Midland Street School. She talked with us about themes and learning outcomes, and what truly stood out to us was her list of suggested themes. Of the fourteen themes she listed above, nine of them were items on our list. This makes us feel as though we are truly starting to get a good grasp on Worcester’s history, considering the fact that 9 out of 14 of her themes were ones we thought of as well.We also met with Mrs. Manning and Mrs. Brown, a physical education teacher and an occupational therapist (respectively), and they gave us fantastic ideas for our course. Some suggestions were having a set of cups, balls, and clubs that are slightly larger so children with disabilities are able to use the course more easily. This is something we had not researched yet, and we feel this information will be very valuable for our project. This is definitely something that must be taken into consideration. These two teachers we spoke with also suggested that we read over Massachusetts Math Standards and a document called “Universal Design” in order to get more ideas for our project. Overall, today was a very productive day!

New Door Design Brings New Element to the Museum! (11/9/2013)

Please click the above image (or click this link) to watch a video we put together about a new design that was done on the front doors of the WHM by a famous artist!

Presentation to the Board (11/13/2013)

Today we gave a presentation to Worcester Historical Museum’s board members. We told them about each of our backgrounds, explained our project, and told them about our proposed theme ideas. The board was made up of friendly and fun people, and they seemed very excited about our project. They feel that our project is valuable to the museum and could certainly attract more people to WHM. Getting to meet the board was great, and we hope to meet with them again in the future once our project is closer to completion. This photo above shows us going through our slides one final time before making our presentation.

Supporting a Valuable Member of WHM (11/21/2013)

Chad Sirois, the Communications Manager for WHM, was in charge of bringing WHM’s presence to “WOOphoria: Give the Gift of WOO,” an event held in the DCU center to get people more involved in the happenings of Worcester. Chad posted on WHM’s Facebook page about this event, and we asked him if he needed extra volunteers. He was very excited to have us help him, especially because he wasn’t feeling well that day. We gladly jumped at the opportunity to help him, especially due to him feeling sick, and this opportunity allowed us to speak with many members of the Worcester community about the museum and our Interactive Qualifying Project. We met many enthusiastic people, both those who had not attended the museum before and those who had.

More about the event: “WOOphoria: Give the Gift of WOO” was a free event held at the DCU center on the night of November 20th. This event allowed guests to meet people from many different groups and institutions in Worcester, in addition to letting guests enjoy the live entertainment that took place. In addition to Worcester Historical Museum, other institutions and groups such as Worcester Music Academy, Old Sturbridge Village, the Worcester Public Library, the EcoTarium, the Worcester Center for Crafts, Worcester Historical Museum, and more were present. Some of the entertainment was 19th century magician Robert Potter, a preview of The Nutcracker (coming to The Hanover Theatre), and a performance by Clark University’s Clark Bars.

Previewing Our Designs with Children! (11/26/2013)

Today we previewed designs with the children from the Worcester Public School System. First, we asked each student what they could immediately identify from each hole. Once we got a gauge on how clear our designs were, we explained each hole to the children and asked them about certain features within it. For example, we asked the children if they enjoy lights and pulling levers, both ideas of which received strong approval from the children. It was wonderful to hear these children get excited not only about our project, but about Worcester’s history as well.