Ridge Student Uses STEM Skills to Improve Flexible Classroom

Ridge Student Uses STEM Skills to Improve Flexible Classroom
Posted on 12/08/2017
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photo of Ashley ReedA Lakota Ridge team of math and science teachers led by Fritz Prior is seizing the opportunity to pilot a classroom with more user-friendly, ergonomically-designed furniture. Most of the furniture is on wheels, giving students the flexibility to move freely throughout the room for better collaboration on group projects.

When the new furniture arrived and was set up, a few problems became evident. The most glaring one was with the tables on wheels: they moved too easily and there was no way to attach the tables to each other.

Franklin Willis, the school’s Design and Modeling teacher, hatched a plan to design, create, and 3D-print a clip for the tables. Ridge Principal Ben Brown said, “Our team felt like this would be a great student-led project, and we selected one of our Design and Modeling students with a strong interest in STEM and design to take on the task.” Seventh-grader Ashley Reed was up for the challenge and the very next day she arrived to class with calipers, rulers and other measurement devices to begin implementing her plan. She worked on the project during class as well as after school.

Ashley used the design process and a computer-aided design program to create a solution. “She learned firsthand that engineering is an iterative process, and that the first attempt rarely works to perfection,” Willis said. “It is an ongoing process of design, test, and redesign. After several prototype designs and modifications, Ashley perfected her table clip.”  

Ashley used the classroom’s 3D printer to create the clips. After they proved functional, she decided to print them in Ridge colors, even personalizing them with the Ridge Firebird logo.

“Everyone is thrilled with Ashley’s design and implementation of the clip,” said Prior. “The clips have saved countless amounts of time keeping the new tables in place!”