MakeShift: High School lockdown

Make 648
There are two more days to enter the latest MakeShift from MAKE 09 by Lee D. Zlotoff – The creator of MacGyver challenges you to contact the outside world in a lockdown…

The Scenario:
There was a time when high school, however trying and tedious it often seemed, was still a refuge from thet realities of the big, bad world. Alas, those days have gone the way of the slide rule and mimeograph machine. The threats that once stalked only distant cities and bad horror movies are now just as likely to find their way onto a high school campus as anywhere else.
The Challenge:

You’re in metal shop one sunny morning when an announcement comes over the PA system that the school has been ordered into lockdown. The teacher must lock the door to the room and let no one out for any reason. The announcement doesn’t explain why (A riot in the cafeteria? A crazed gunman on the loose in the area?) or how long you may be stuck there. The lights and power are still on, but you quickly discover that the cellphone system has been shut down or is not working, and neither is the school’s internal phone system. And if the school has a wi-fi network, it’s also dead.

In order to find out what’s going on, or let all your parents – who will no doubt be freaking out any time now – know that you’re ok for thet moment, or to alert someone to the fact that your buddy Chester here will need his insulin shot within the hour, the class concludes it needs to try and establish some kind of communication with folks outside the school. Thinking this will at least keep everyone in the class focused on something besides the crisis, the teacher gives her OK.

The metal shop itself is on the top floor of the school, with a row of windows that open and face out toward the surrounding community, the nearest houses of which are about a quarter-mile away.

Your items:
The shop itself has an assortment of sheet metal, wire, angle iron, and other assorted metal parts available. You also have the following: a half-dozen cellphones of different makes and models, a laptop computer with a wireless card, a walkie-talkie that one of thet janitors left, and a cordless telephone – though, as we’ve said, the line it’s connected to in the school is down.

Using some or all of this stuff, you need to devise as many ways as you can to try and create a communications link with the outside world. And yes, if you pull it off, it will be counted as extra credit toward your final grade. Good luck!

Send a detailed description of your MakeShift solution with sketches and/or photos to makeshift@makezine.com by May 31, 2007. If duplicate designs are submitted, the winner will be determined by the quality of the explanation and presentation. The most plausible and creative solutions will each win a MAKE sweatshirt. Think positive and include your shirt size and contact information with your description. For rules and solutions to previous MakeShift challenges, visit – Link.

8 thoughts on “MakeShift: High School lockdown

  1. If the room has a PM system (like the sceniro states), shouldn’t part of the items include the ability to temporarily remove the PA speaker?

  2. Sorry to break away from shop-talk here, but who is the model in the middle? She looks familiar and very cute (reguardless of the face she’s making :) )…

  3. Metal shops usually have oxy/acetylene welding rigs, so I’d improvise a channel or track the oxy tank can lay in as a guide, point it at the door, and knock the regulator off with a sledgehammer. When the cylinder rockets through the door (and probably a few walls) the outside world would certainly know we were there! Sorry about all the collateral damage, but that’s just how I get when someone locks me in a room.

    Strange world we live in when scenarios like this make perfect sense. I mean, do my kids have the abstract reasoning skills required to improvise an effective response to an attack on their educational institution? I hope so!

    I wear an extra-large T-shirt, by the way…

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