Bonita High freshmen create theme park rides in annual competition

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LA VERNE – The average Southern California high school student has plenty of opportunities to become an expert at amusement park rides.
On Friday, a group of Bonita High School students put that expertise to the test on Friday at La Verne Community Center.
Students showcased their ideas for theme park rides to employees from Thinkwell Design, a Burbank-based design firm that has specialities including the planning of destinations, resorts and theme parks.
“It’s an attraction design project,” said Bob Turner, who teaches technology and geography at Bonita High.
The freshmen break into 12 groups of nine teams and create every stage of the project.
“They do storyboards, they do models and marketing pieces and budgets,” Turner said.
“They brainstorm six different ride potentials in their group, and they, along with their teachers, select the best one in the group. … All of the others become single-page ones that you claim you built to create a false history for the company.”
The multi-disciplinary project teaches physics, writing, art and math under the supervision of the school’s science and English teachers.
“The kids work their butts off on this, but it’s just more fun,” Turner said.
“You get all this information they have to do anyway, but they mask it in the things they like to do.”
And they really do work: This quarter, the teams had 58 separate grades on different parts of the project.
The projects end with the presentation to theme park industry professionals.
The 12 teams on Friday showcased their rides based on topics such as Dr. Seuss, New York City on New Year’s Eve, and Greek mythology.
“If you get the `contract,’ you get a guaranteed A (in the class). Regardless of what the 60 things I added up say, you’re guaranteed at least a 95 percent A,” Turner said.
And many times, a group that wasn’t on track to get an A nails the presentation.
This year, it was the Attractions in Action team that got that A, for a ride based on Dr. Seuss’ “Circus McGurkus.”
Reach Beau at via email, call him at 909-483-9376, or find him on Twitter @InlandED.
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