Second-graders in Nina Blauner’s and Lori Feingold’s classes have designed and built their own original chairs as part of an innovation project that challenged them to create chairs that can improve classroom life.
Throughout the design process, the students brainstormed ideas, conducted research, interviewed their peers, imagined possible chair features and worked collaboratively to plan their designs. Equipped with a variety of materials, including cardboard boxes, water bottles, wheels and duct tape, the students used their creativity to build their chairs before bringing stuffed animals to school to test their strength and durability.
“This project was so meaningful for my students because our motto in our class is ‘Be a Froot Loop in a world full of Cheerios,’” Blauner said. “It’s important in my classroom for children to think creatively, take chances and ignite their passions. This project enabled the students to address their individual needs.”
Some of the features of the chairs included an attached water bottle with a straw, an attached cup holder for pencils and other handy supplies, as well as extra space for students to sit together and collaborate. In addition, one chair consisted of toy cars, whose wheels were used to provide a mobility feature to the design.
“The students valued comfort, mobility, efficiency and aesthetics,” Blauner added. “They planned, received feedback, created and improved upon their ideal chair with the constraints of having to do their best work and the design being reasonable. They were exposed to the design process, which hopefully will follow them here at school and out in the real world.”
Once the chairs were completed, the second-graders presented their designs before an audience of parents and peers and reflected on the experience.
Inspired by the students’ imagination, wants and needs and thanks to a generous grant from the Bronxville School Foundation, second-grade classrooms will incorporate flexible seating into their rooms for the 2018-19 school year.