HoopLight Team Visits St Michael's University School's Imagination Lab!

So my brother Jure and I had the privilege to visit the school I went to when I was a kid, St Michael’s University School, to speak with two grade 3 classes in their Imagination Lab about our design process for HoopLight.

We received a very warm welcome. It felt amazing to hear how much the children were enjoying their HoopLight in the gym. When we asked the class if they were enjoying it we received a unanimous and emphatic “Yeah!!!” I was very touched when I heard this, and found it very energizing too!

I was very impressed with what the kids were building for their genius hour projects. There was lots of variety! Some students were 3D printing with the lab’s Makerbot Replicator, while others were learning how to make sushi and put together puppet shows! Some students were even programming robots!

After learning about all the cool projects the children had going on, I went on to share with them the origin story of HoopLight – how I built it originally as a way to improve my younger cousin’s driveway basketball experience and what it evolved into.

I brought in 3 different models of HoopLight to illustrate different stages of development (Although there are many more than just 3 models/iterations). Some of the kids came up to take a closer look at them after class!

Kids Crowding around HoopLight in SMUS Innovation LabKids asking questions about HoopLight

The class was very attentive and polite and asked some seriously stellar questions! Some of them were:

“Did you think about making it solar powered?”

“How would you use the solar power for energy if HoopLight is a night time product?”

“How can you see the hoop at night when its dark, so you can shoot on and activate HoopLight?”

 “If the HoopLight was solar powered, and there was no sun during the day, would it still be able to have power at night?”

“What other inventions do you want to build? What’s your favorite one on your list”?

Children asking questions to HoopLight founder in SMUS Innovation Lab

There’s no doubt these children were much smarter than we were when we were in grade 3! 

Some main lessons I thought would be valuable and tried to instill in the class were:

  • To invent something you really care about - follow your passions!
  • Failure is okay. In fact, expect it and then learn from it so you can iterate!
  • Be sure to thoroughly test each iteration of your invention!
  • If you fail and feel discouraged, that’s natural. Don’t give up and try again!

It was a true pleasure to speak with St. Michael’s Junior School's grade 3 classes. They were amazing and so were their teachers! We would do it again in a heartbeat! Thank you so much to Becky Anderson and Alison Galloway for inviting us in for a visit :)

Joe Erlic