Jamie Holland/News Aerianna and Elizabeth stand with their Math and Spelling Puzzle Tower prototype. The tower always students to practice math and spelling skills before being able to complete a puzzle. Missing from the photo is their teammate Nathaniel, who was unable to be there in person.
amie Holland/News Xavior, Jackson and Seth are pictured with their remote controlled truck prototype. Once built, the truck has squirt guns, laser lights and a rear water cannon. Missing from the team photo is Josh, who attends the school online.
Jamie Holland/News From right, John, Elisha and Elijah stand waiting to set off their cola and mint candy powered land/watercraft vehicle prototype. The cola and mint candy set off a chemical reaction that motorized the vehicles to move forward.


MOUNT VERNON – Every year students at Christian Star Academy (CSA) spend the month of July launching a toy company.

The name for this year’s company, ToyBox U.S.A., was decided on by popular vote taken over Facebook.

Led by Miss Sue, teacher and co-founder of CSA, and the de facto CEO of each year’s toy company, the students then created a mission statement, logo and slogan for the ToyBox U.S.A. before getting to work on creating prototypes of the company’s toys.

Eleven students were separated into three different groups to create an educational themed toy. Each toy incorporates some educational aspect, what subject the toy incorporates is up to the students.

Aerianna, Elizabeth and Nathaniel created a Math and Spelling Puzzle Tower. The toy allows students to practice their math and spelling skills and after ten correct answers, they can complete one of six puzzles that are attached via magnets.

Though unable to be in person, Nathaniel joined via Zoom to talk about why they created the puzzle tower. He said he wanted kids and students to be able to practice their learning – specifically math, problem-solving the puzzles and spelling – on the toy.

“We though it would be fun for kids,” Aerianna said. “I thought it being a puzzle was a really good idea.”

All three of them agree that they had fun creating and working on their prototype made out of legos. Elizabeth and Aerianna both said that the project wasn’t easy; there was a lot of up and downs to finish the project.

Jackson, Seth and Xavior created a remote control truck kit that has to be built beforehand. The truck, once completed, is ready for battle with it’s two front squirt guns, laser lights and a rear water cannon. And of course, the truck has to be 100 percent waterproof.

Xavier said that they had several different versions before they landed on the truck version. He said that they had some setbacks and had to change their plans a few times before settling on their final project.

“Seth made a train,” Xavier said. “We had to modify it and put a motor in it.”

Jackson said the squirt guns can squirt the water out as far as three feet or even more. The three boys demonstrated the truck’s ability to travel

Elijah, John, Elisha and Josh created land/watercraft vehicles that are powered by cola and candy. The vehicle teaches kids about chemistry – the reaction of the candy and the cola – and water science – how the vehicle can float on water with the help of pool noodles. The vehicle would come in a kit that the kids would have to put together first before being able to experiment with the cola and candy.

“We wanted to make it different from everything else,” Elisha said, adding that they made the vehicle all-terrain by adding the pool noodles to make it float. ‘so we thought, since kids these days just sit in front of a screen, we wanted to get them (outside).”

Elisha explained that they had to play with the size of the vehicle and how exactly to get the candy inside the cola to make it run and travel a good distance.

“We had our ups and downs,” Elijah said about the project itself, adding that there was a lot of trial and error involved.

Josh was also apart of the cola and mint candy powered vehicle team, but since he attends the school online, he created his prototype at home. He joined his teammates over Zoom to talk about his project and his experience building the vehicle.

“I haven’t gotten it right yet,” Josh said about his project, adding that sometimes to falls apart when he tests it and that he’s still working on it. But overall, he enjoyed the experience of building his toy prototype out of Lego.

The rest of this article is available to our subscribers.

Do your part to support local journalism
Subscribe to our e-edition to read this and many other articles written by your neighbors.

Already a subscriber? Log in



Jamie Holland: 740-397-5333 or jamie@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @