Projects at BIG:

The BIG school believes that student work should be public for the following reasons:

  1. We want community members to be able to raise their hands to say, "Yes! I can help this student get that done!"
  2. When students have a true audience for their work (outside the school walls) they persist longer, and create more learning
  3. Since we don't bully with points and grades, our students aren't afraid to share their progress as they learn how to fail gracefully into success

  4. Activities for Teens

    Activities for Teens

    Do you want more things for teens to do in the community? The Cedar Rapids Recreation Department needs teens to help them create events and/or programs to increase the number of activities that are available. These could be newly created activities, changes in current programming, and partnership activities. Cedar Rapids games: fastest crab walk, nerdy jeopardy, longest bread, school wide. The Hub. The ideas for this project are really endless, from developing a teen youth center, to a rec center, to a hip/cool place for teens to study.



    Animal Respite

    Animal Respite

    Help place former working animals, and unwanted livestock in a place where they can live out their days.



    AP Utensils

    AP Utensils

    This project would be to design and build new forms of kitchen utensils, whether it be "stissors" (a specific type of scissors for cutting meat into bite sized portions to children) to developing heated knives to cut cold butter or ice cream cake...the possibilities are endless.



    Aquaponics Prototyping

    Aquaponics Prototyping

    Students will work in conjunction with The Ecoponics Group in North Africa to help design and test a prototype aquaponics system. Data will be collected on the efficiency and production of the system in the different climates experience in Iowa and Saharan Africa. Student will have contact with team in North Africa.



    Audio Engineering for Local Acts

    Audio Engineering for Local Acts

    Students will be locating and serving local and ephemeral acts to record their events and performances. This group will provide keepsake and marketing purposes.



    Bever Park Zoo

    Bever Park Zoo

    The City of Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department needs help with Bever Park Zoo! They are looking to improve marketing and branding, expand program offerings, and resdesign the facility and spaces. This might also include evaluating the administration of the zoo and care of animals.



    Bioluminescent Project

    Bioluminescent Project

    This project is to design and develop glow in the dark trees to replace street lamps and develop park space for nighttime use.



    Cedar Rapids History and Artifacts

    Cedar Rapids History and Artifacts

    Jelinek Companies has and extensive collection of historic artifcates that tell the story of Cedar Rapids and its various neighborhoods. They need a complete inventory, grouping, and research in regards to historical elements in Parlor City, other properties, and acquisitions housed in storage spaces. There are stories that go with some of the artifacts and some stories yet to be discovered!



    Drive-In Theater

    Drive-In Theater

    This project would be to create a drive-in theater experience in the corridor area.



    Food Truck

    Food Truck

    Identify land, grow a garden, and use the ingredients on a food truck that visits different schools. Food, smoothies, business, awesome.



    Hardware Design and Prosthetics

    Hardware Design and Prosthetics

    The project lead is Anna Seydel. Her group's goal is to produce a myoelectric prosthetic hand that uses forearm impulses to drive a robotic prosthetic.



    Harnessing the power of the sun

    Harnessing the power of the sun

    This project would be used to develop solar power throughout the corridor, whether that means developing solar powered roads and sidewalks, to building a solar farm, or moving one of the area schools to being fully solar powered.



    High School ESPN

    High School ESPN

    This project is designed to follow and report on high school sports, by students, for students. Check into the guy that streams all of the Regina games, talk to KCRG 9.2



    High School Jobfinder

    High School Jobfinder

    The purpose of this project is to develop a website that links high school job seekers with those in need of workers.



    Invasive Species Management and Education

    Invasive Species Management and Education

    One BIG challenge that conservation professionals face is managing invasive plant species in our parks, preserves and natural areas. In addition to conservation there is a need to and develop and grow additional native prairie land. We would love a BIG solution for reaching the general public. How can we communicate the importance of managing invasives in a new and memorable way to people that may know nothing about Iowa plants? What are the ways people need to hear about this so that they feel like the information is valid, interesting and worthy of action? Should we use humor? Can we find an effective way to use social media? Do people need to visit sites to make a personal connection (i.e. guided hikes?) or could they be inspired by simply reading a dynamic blog, watching a funny video, reading engaging signage? What motivates people to take ownership, take action, teach others? With so little of Iowa's native ecosystems left (i.e. Iowa has less than 1/10th of one percent of tallgrass prairie) it is a tragedy that the few places that remain be degraded by invasives.



    Lace 'Em Up! Re-open Ellis Ice

    Lace 'Em Up! Re-open Ellis Ice

    Winter in CR needs help! There was a time anyone in CR could skate for free to release the winter blues. A number of community members would like to work with the city to reopen the Ellis Ice Rink. Lace 'Em Up!



    Local Venue Acoustic Analysis

    Local Venue Acoustic Analysis

    This group is using spectrum analysis software to map out the "best" and "worst" seats in local venues. Group will be contact the managers and marketing agents for theaters and events centers.



    Make BIG Bigger

    Make BIG Bigger

    Expand BIG so that students all over the state and region can participate in this model. Includes training new students, teachers, admins, running marketing, etc..



    Marketing for EcoLips

    Marketing for EcoLips

    EcoLips has many marketing activities and is looking for new ideas and exciting changes. You will work closely with their marketing director to share their story and market their products.



    Medieval Times and Madrigal Events

    Medieval Times and Madrigal Events

    Create a medieval experience where participants learn the ins and outs of the culture so that they can use their knowledge at an event featuring period music, food, and events. No lights, no refrigerators, only candles and truncheons.



    Music Meetup

    Music Meetup

    The purpose of this project is to get people within the community who are interested in teaching and creating music. Ideally this group would work to create new, better music venues, and would also involve teaching and preparing for public performance as a community group. Include creating after school music programs for people who don't have time in their school schedule.



    Non-profit Art Consignment and Workshop

    Non-profit Art Consignment and Workshop

    The goal of this project is to allow local artists to be recognized and possibly paid for their art. While also providing a workshop space for potential artists. Can also be an opportunity to raise money for non-profit organizations.



    Species Range GIS

    Species Range GIS

    The goal of this project is to develop a website or program that displays various types of information about as many animal species as possible. Information will be grouped into types, similar to layers on a GIS. We are currently working on the phylogeny layer and the distribution layer. More to be added later.



    Sports Documentary

    Sports Documentary

    This project is to create a sports documentary following what happens to scholarship athletes once their athletic career is finished.



    Student Photography Collective

    Student Photography Collective

    Website linking student photographers with those in the community with professional photography needs.



    SuccesSHE!

    SuccesSHE!

    In 2013: Student Kinzie Farmer is putting together a TED-style day of speakers, discussion, and learning centered around empowering women to understand the difference between genetic and sexist pressure affecting their ability to succeed in the professional world. Featuring Lisa Bluder, head coach of the Iowa Women's basketball team. See: KinzieFarmer.com This year, the project will pivot to explore the "terrible twenty's" - the time in young women's lives that they make major decisions. Success^SHE will delve into college admissions processes too.



    Therapeutic Animal Center

    Therapeutic Animal Center

    This project will be developing a therapeutic animal center where people can visit to enjoy the company of animals, as well as having a staff that will take animals out to different places of need (schools at finals time, universities, stressful work times). Also study the effects of therapeutic animals on people in stressful environments.



    Urban Orchards

    Urban Orchards

    Student team is designing, siting, planting, and creating a maintenance scheme for an urban orchard in Cedar Rapids.



    Urban Runoff and Cedar River Watershed

    Urban Runoff and Cedar River Watershed

    How should urban storm water runoff be managed? Evaluate and analyze current drain situations in Cedar Rapids, inflow and infiltration, look at potential solutions like rain barrels/rain gardens, sustainability of current and future solutions, streetscape design, and help solve this problem! Potential solutions include developing prairie and marshland to serve as buffers to help manage storm water runoff. This can help the city to function more sustainably, prevent basement water back-ups and impact the aesthetics of the community. The area upriver from Seminole Valley Park needs to be investigated to plan for watershed management and potential irrigation. There are options for analysis, planning, and implementation. This would be a joint project with Cedar Rapids Parks and Linn County Conservation.



    Wireless Power

    Wireless Power

    Investigate the feasibility and future of wireless power delivery.



    yoUAV (Drones and Ag)

    yoUAV (Drones and Ag)

    The goal of this project is to explore the use of drones for assessing agricultural practices. Current focus is on limit the use of damaging nitrogen compounds as they run-off into the Mississippi basin.



    Help out with a BIG Project!

    Thank you for being interested in volunteering! Every project at BIG is combined effort of professional educators, enthusiastic students, and invested community players.

    Past volunteers have helped in the following ways:

    • Donations of equipment and money (we're a non-profit)
    • Time committment to mentor, review, or advise project development
    • Pitch new ideas or larger projects students could join
    • Encouragement!
    Your Email:

    How would you like to help?