- Sponsorship -

Third graders have the solution to organizing toys in messy bedrooms

Students spent time designing products with help from professionals

Third graders at Explorer Elementary School are putting a twist on hungry, hungry hippos, with their own version of the ravenous mammal.

Instead of marbles, their hippo eats toys.

“Lots of kids have way too many stuffed animals,” explained Blake Strong about the prototype toy storage container he designed with fellow students Phiona VanderBeek and Bennett Stalker.

Third graders Blake Strong and Phiona VanderBeek work on their hippopotamus storage container prototype

The toy container design — in the shape of a hippo — has a mouth for dropping in stuffed animals and a door in the back for retrieving them. It is made of cardboard, colored tape, paper, plastic and has googly eyes.

Students in the P.E.A.K.S. gifted and talented program at Discovery and Explorer elementary schools are creating toy storage containers by using the design thinking process. (P.E.A.K.S., or Parents , Educators And Kids = Success, is a full-time, self-contained program students apply for entry into.)

The task was to create a container for a student to use in a small bedroom, where Legos, dolls and Matchbox cars are often strewn about the floor.

Josie Day and her group invented “The Basket Shandeleer,” a toy box that hangs from the ceiling and drops to the floor using a pulley system. She said the contraption would free up space in her bedroom and provide her pet with a better view.

“I have a lot of things. It would definitely be helpful with the stuff on my desk,” she said, explaining that her fish lives in a bowl on her desk. “I don’t think my fish is very happy.”

Third grader Quelasia Harrell and her team designed the “OG Pocket Strap,” a strap with a pouch to hang off the wall and hold toys. “Most people don’t have things to store their toys and books in, so we thought it would be a good idea to make one,” she said.

The finished prototype by third graders Josie Day, Mason Goodell, and Nico Daniel show a toy container that hangs from the ceiling

Challenge: Put Away Your Toys

Explorer teacher Debi Hayes’ and Discovery teacher Amanda Tollas’ classes worked with Steelcase engineers on using the design thinking process to create a product that best fits the needs of the end user — a child with a small bedroom.

They considered cost effectiveness, safety and usefulness, and interviewed a parent and three children about what kind of toy container would work best in their homes. They met with Eric Kelliher, Kent ISD Career Readiness consultant, for feedback. Students revised and edited throughout the project.

Students recently presented to judges, who chose winning designs for each school. All teams will showcase their designs in March at the Kentwood Administration Building. The winning designs will stay in classrooms and be used for storage, Hayes said.

In Hayes’ class, students have taken on five design challenges this school year. They designed a plan for special classroom seating including comfy furniture and a plan to promote recycling.

“They are becoming really proficient at being flexible thinkers and coming up with some really original ideas,” Hayes said. “It’s that whole idea of 21st century learning and engineering. We are equipping our kids to be successful in lots of fields. It makes them really good, thorough thinkers.”

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

LATEST ARTICLES

Longtime volunteer does whatever’s needed for school: ‘I love being here’

A 24-year parent and grandparent volunteer tends to student and family needs at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy...

Lessons from a pandemic: ‘agile learners’ need ‘agile adults’

Reflecting on the end of fall semester and 2020, Superintendent Dedrick Martin sat down with School News Network to discuss how Caledonia adapted to school closures, virtual learning and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic...

It’s all about getting students back to classrooms, Supt. Shibler says of the vaccine

Superintendent Michael Shibler hopes the more people get vaccinated, the closer we are to the end of the pandemic...

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

For MLK Day, educators discuss improving equity in education

A leading advocate on equity in education says Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy requires educators to dig deeper into making sure all students have what they need to thrive...

Teacher lights science up with creativity

As a child, Wendy Johnson’s curiosity led her to discover her passion for science. Now a ninth-grade biophysics teacher at East Kentwood, her passion transforms the average science class into a hub of student curiosity...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS