Teaching topics like Design, Technology, and Engineering can get tricky when your students are not in the classroom to use the tools and materials at school for the usual Technology Education Curriculum. During the spring of 2020 Morrisville Senior/High School Technology Teacher Kevin Jones had to pivot his usual Woodworking and Technology classes to the new virtual model.
This caused a shift from building things out of wood to building things out of anything you can find around the house.
Kevin, who has never shied away from recycling discarded furniture in the Woodshop focused on upcycling and challenged his students to build something useful at home.
At the tail end of the school year Elementary Teacher Summer Branche ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to get a STEM Cart and supplies to use with her students to teach about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
After School Board Member Leshe Lentner brought the project to Kevin’s attention, he saw the District was disposing of some old TV/VCR Carts a plan started to form.
A discussion with Dave May, the head of Facilities, lead to the Maintenance and IT Departments supplying Kevin with five old Laptop Carts and a couple of TV Carts.
During the 2020-2021 school year, Middle School students in Technology Education class have been brainstorming and designing paint schemes for Elementary STEM Carts upcycled from old Laptop Carts as well as a STEM activity for the Elementary students in the corresponding grade to do in the future.
The Middle School students learned the basics of Google Drawing and used the program to create a sketch of the old laptop carts and design a paint scheme and other decorations.
The Middle School students voted on their favorite concepts and worked together to finalize designs.
The students learned about the process Kevin went through to prep and paint the carts.
Sometimes designs called for special taping techniques to create crisp details, all of this was discussed and modeled for students learning from home over Zoom.
As a class the Middle School students researched and brainstormed project ideas that tied into curriculum topics the Elementary teachers provided.
The Middle School students worked with Kevin to develop teacher directions, student handouts, a project sample, and supplies for each of the activities.
One grade will make a model of human lungs out of paper bags, tape, and straws while another grade practice measuring on some funky wooden lizards for example.
Traci Coley and Melissa Pilla in the Life Skills class provided the finishing touches to the carts by cutting vinyl decals to label the carts on the Cricut machine.
As Morrisville School District prepares to open its doors for hybrid instruction the first through fifth grade carts have been rolling out of the Woodshop to find their homes in the grade appropriate hallways and buildings.
There is one TV Cart left which is in mid-transformation and will hopefully be ready for Kindergarten soon.