Splash out on an aqua rider

Issue: Volume 96, Number 3

Posted: 27 February 2017
Reference #: 1H9d6A

Students from Carlson School for Cerebral Palsy made an amphibious chair from used plastic items and filmed an award-winning advertisement to tell the world about it.

“You may ask yourself, who would want a wheelchair like this?” begins the voiceover to the advertisement for the Aqua Rider.

It’s not such a crazy question, as it turns out. The custom-made chair is able to go off-road – that is, into the water. It’s made entirely from an assortment of plastic bottles and a few rolls of duct tape and makes an enviable pool-lounger. And its clever design and marketing won Room 5 students at Auckland’s Carlson School for Cerebral Palsy a Fair Go Ad Award late in 2016.

The students were inspired to enter the Fair Go Ad Awards by their teacher Susan Gauchi.

“We had entered a competition called ‘Focus on Ability’ earlier in the year, and won second place,” says Susan. “I was watching Fair Go one evening and the Ad Awards were mentioned, and I thought it would make a fun challenge for us.”

“The next day, I showed the students and they were very keen to get started.”

The theme of the 2016 Fair Go Ad Awards was ‘Rubbish Revolution.’ Entrants were asked to make a product from plastic items that would otherwise be thrown away. They then had to create and film an advertisement for the product.

“So we discussed what we were going to make out of plastic and we came up with the idea of a wheelchair,” says Susan.

“We had to figure out how it was going to sit upright, and we wanted it to float, too. To get inspired to make the ad, we watched some beach scenes on YouTube.”

The chair’s back and armrests were the most challenging to construct, but Susan says the boys’ enthusiasm for the project saw them breeze through the practical difficulties.

Susan and the students received some technical support from the school caretaker, who once worked in the advertising industry.

“He gave us some tips on camera angles and editing. We tried to fit as much information into the clip as possible,” she says.

The boys’ Aqua Rider advertisement won first prize in the student category, which amounted to $14,000. But the real prize was the boost to their confidence and enthusiasm in the field of filmmaking.

“They have a real can-do attitude – we’re hoping to make an additional four short films this year, which should keep us very busy.”

The Aqua Rider advertisement can be viewed on the TVNZ website(external link) (from 1min, 30 seconds).

Student voices

“It was nice seeing myself on TV. My favourite part of winning the competition was having people from the public congratulate me on the win.” – Ronnie Tua

“I laughed when I saw myself on TV and so did my family, but I don’t enjoy being famous!” – Miracle Falalou.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 12:04 pm, 27 February 2017

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