RSU #18 Middle School Gifted and Talented students have been hard at work on their spring project, “Find a Need, Fill a Need.” Student teams are tasked with finding a need and then designing and building an adaptive device that helps increase independence or enhances quality of life for a person facing a physical or cognitive challenge due to a disability or increased age.
The project was launched with a district-wide GT workshop at MMS on January 17, with presentations by Occupational Therapist Heather Kerner, Thomas College Pre-service Teacher Alissah Paquette, and New Hampshire engineers Alex and Alec Cobban. The Design/Stem challenge really encourages empathy and problem-solving for students and walks them through the engineering design process of identifying the problem/need, exploring the background of the need and how it might be addressed, designing the device, creating, testing, and improving it.
“I like this project because it is people helping people,” said MMS student, Nar Peterson. Classmate Elise MacDonald added that “ it can help children enjoy the (Easter) holiday more and give them new experiences.”
Students have already chosen their topics and completed their research. Currently, students are templating designs, researching cost-effective materials, and reviewing possible obstacles. “I am witnessing intense discussions and enthusiastic sharing of ideas,” said GT teacher Tamiko Paquette. “Students are really trying to put themselves in the place of their “client” to really feel that it might be like to have to cope with the differing ability.”
After vacation, students will begin creating prototypes for testing. They will be presenting their completed projects at a Parent Showcase on March 26, from 6 – 7 p.m., at the MMS Library.