SOURCE: WGBH

March 12, 2008 19:47 ET

"Design Squad" Offers Exciting Engineering & Design Challenges for a New Generation When 13 New Episodes -- and a Trash to Treasure Contest -- Premiere April 2 on PBS (Check Local Listings)

Season 2 Kicks Off When the Product Mavens at IKEA Challenge "Design Squad's" Aspiring Teenage Engineers to Create Innovative, Eco-Friendly Cardboard Furniture for Display at the Home Furnishings Superstore

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - March 12, 2008) - Cardboard has inspired designers for decades, from Frank Gehry's furniture collection that made waves in the 1970s to a recent gala at the Guggenheim that had guests seated at cardboard tables. Those in the know have never relegated this corrugated wonder to packing boxes and neither do "Design Squad's" aspiring engineers. When the second season kicks off on Wednesday, April 2 (check local listings), the "Design Squad" teams pay a visit to the home furnishing superstore IKEA and get their first challenge: create Cardboard Furniture to be displayed in an IKEA showroom! "Design Squad" is also offering kids at home a way to get in on the action: a Trash to Treasure contest invites kids to take everyday discarded or recycled materials and re-engineer them into functional products (more details are below).

"We know kids love to design and make things," says "Design Squad's" Executive Producer, Marisa Wolsky. "You see it in their fascination with things that move, like cars and bikes, and how they like to redo their own rooms and spaces. What WE want to do is take that energy and direct it toward solving more challenging, real-life problems."

Adds "Design Squad" host and twenty-something mechanical engineer Nate Ball, "We're excited to show kids that engineering is active, fun, and collaborative. It's also everywhere in their lives: a design engineer worked on the chair you sit in, a structural engineer worked on your house. The show's reality competition format gives our viewers a chance to see both people their age and young professional engineers at work in creative careers. It's not just for kids who are math and science prodigies, it's for anyone who loves finding out how things work and getting their ideas from their brain to their fingertips."

Making a Difference: One Engineering Challenge at a Time

"Design Squad" is about learning to think smart and build fast, while contending with a wild array of engineering and design challenges given by real world clients. In 13 half-hour episodes, Nate guides eight new teenage contestants while they build Hockey Net Targets for a Boston Bruins player, design Under-Water Prostheses for an amputee dancer, and develop and race Gravity Bikes with a little help from famed inventor and founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Dean Kamen. Keeping their eyes on the grand prize -- a $10,000 college scholarship provided by the Intel Foundation -- and their cool when things get hot, the "Design Squad" teams soon discover that good design, a little humor, and of course engineering can make anything possible.

About "Design Squad" on PBS

"Design Squad" is a reality competition show aimed at kids and people of all ages who like reality or how-to television. The program was launched in 2007 by the producers behind "ZOOM" and "FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman," with the goal of getting viewers excited about engineering and the design process. And it worked. After researching the impact of the TV series, web site, and educator's guide, an independent evaluator found a significant jump in kids' learning and a uniformly positive, enthusiastic response from viewers, educators, and kids.

"Intel is pleased to be a major sponsor of 'Design Squad' and we are looking forward to an exciting second season," says Brenda Musilli, Worldwide Director of Intel Education and President of the Intel Foundation. "Intel is actively involved in education today to inspire tomorrow's innovators and it is wonderful to be part of a program such as 'Design Squad' that increases kids' interest in engineering by showcasing engaging, real-life applications."

"Design Squad's" 2008 Trash to Treasure Competition

Build it, Bend it, Break it down... that's the mantra this season: from the Cardboard Furniture challenge to the Trash to Treasure contest, which inspires kids at home to raid their recycling bins and transform everyday objects into the next big thing. Using their good design sense and engineering smarts, kids nationwide, from kindergarten to high school, will put their skills to the test for a chance to win a $10,000 cash prize provided by the Intel Foundation and a trip to the development lab at Continuum (an award-winning international design and innovation consultancy), to build a prototype of his or her Trash to Treasure design. The contest launches Tuesday, April 1, at pbs.org/designsquad.

"Design Squad" Online -- pbs.org/designsquad

The "Design Squad" web site goes "behind the scenes" with cast interviews, photos, outtakes, and the inside scoop on each "Design Squad" challenge. Online, visitors can watch full-length streams of "Design Squad" episodes, share their thoughts, and learn more about the role of engineers in society via www.pbs.org/designsquad.

"Design Squad" is produced by WGBH Boston. Major funding for "Design Squad" is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Intel Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, United Engineering Foundation (ASCE, ASME, AIChE, IEEE, AIME), Noyce Foundation, Northrop Grumman, the IEEE, and the Intel Corporation.

Contact Information