MEDWAY –Superintendent Armand Pires is pleased to share that a group of Medway Middle School students won an award this Tuesday for an adaptive toy they designed for the annual Project Lead the Way Children’s Hospital Design Showcase.
Seventh grade students Kelsea Anderson, Lily Bariteau, Ellie Copeland, Caitlin MacNeil, Emma Reardon and Bella Vallieres were among 110 students from 16 Massachusetts schools that attended Mass STEM Hub’s second annual design showcase for Project Lead the Way on Tuesday, June 4, at the Merck Research Laboratories in Boston.
Student groups were challenged to design, test and build an adaptive toy for a child with cerebral palsy for the showcase using their knowledge of the engineering design process, critical measurement and mathematical modeling, computer-aided design and cerebral palsy. Students learned about these concepts in a Design and Modeling Project Lead the Way (PLTW) unit earlier this school year.
At the showcase, students presented their projects to doctors and patients of the cerebral palsy unit of Boston Children’s Hosptial. Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Children’s Hospital CEO Sandra Fenwick also attended the showcase and met with students in the competition.
“This showcase was such a wonderful opportunity for our students to challenge themselves,” Superintendent Pires said. “They created incredibly thoughtful, useful projects, and it’s so exciting to see them using the knowledge they gained this school year to create something meaningful.”
Anderson, Copeland, Reardon and Vallieres were awarded the Practitioners’ Pick award at the showcase, which is given to the project with the most real-world promise at the competition each year. The four students built a multi-functional fidget contraption for the competition, which they designed to support cognitive, sensory and physical therapy for children ages one through 12 with cerebral palsy. The toy features matching, spinning, listening and drawing games for patients to play independently or with an occupational therapist. These features of the toy were designed to engage the cerebral palsy patient’s imagination and senses while strengthening eye-hand coordination.
MacNeil and Bariteau partnered to build a “Toys for Kids Fruit Matcher” toy for the showcase as well, which tasks the patient with matching a soft, squishy “fruit” to a cup the same color as that fruit. MacNeil and Bariteau designed the toy to provide cognitive, physical and sensory therapy to children with cerebral palsy during occupational therapy, and to help patients stretch their finger and hand muscles.
“Project Lead the Way has done a wonderful job of engaging our students and making them excited to learn about STEM topics,” said Medway Middle School Principal Craig Juelis. “This showcase gave students an opportunity to see first-hand how the topics they’re learning about in class can be applied to help others and make an impact in the world, and that’s truly incredible. Congratulations to each of these students on a job well done.”
Project Lead The Way is an initiative of Mass STEM Hub, an organization providing access to and support for premier STEM programming. Project Lead The Way aims to make STEM part of students’ regular school day. The program offers K-12 curriculum in engineering, computer science, and biomedical science that engages students in problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.