This spring the York House SK Apple class engaged in a project on Animal Prosthetics. The students had been very interested in how animals help people and how people help animals. They had a veterinarian clinic play centre set up in the classroom and would often read books about animals. To extend on this interest, students were shown a video from Engineering is Everywhere about animal prosthetics. Right away the students were engaged as they were given the challenge to help a hurt frog by designing a frog leg.
For their larger project, students were divided into groups to design a prosthetic for a specific animal such as a horse, dolphin, or eagle. Students used the Design Thinking Framework to help empathize and understand what their animal needed their prosthetic to help them do. They read stories about their animal, watched videos, and even pretended to move like the animal.
Students brainstormed or ideated multiple ways to make their prosthetic and then experimented with materials. To test their designs, students had to think about its comfort, durability, attachment, and function. After testing, groups modified and improved on their prosthetics. It was wonderful to see how students persevered when they encouraged design flaws and continued to modify their designs until they were satisfied with how it worked.
This project was a collaboration between SK teachers, Kimberly Ryerson and Alison Matthews, and STEAM Coordinator Jennifer Sharpe.