Students become engineers for room design project

  • “Room Design Challenge” inspires the next generation of builders and engineers

    Stanley Middle School recently transformed its classrooms into design studios where students discovered the joys and challenges of creating and engineering their own rooms.  But, the project came with a twist – the students were tasked with building the rooms inside shoeboxes.

    Lead teacher Diana Baxter said, “We encouraged our students to pick any room and design it using everyday items found at home.  But, it had to fit inside a shoebox and be drawn to scale.”

    The room choices ranged from common living rooms and bedrooms to more unique options like home theaters, greenhouses, man caves, and she-sheds.  Once the students completed their miniature masterpieces, they had to explain their designs, how they engineered them, and how the designs could benefit others.

    As students moved through the design process to the interview stage, they had the chance to get helpful advice from community members such as painters, interior designers, contractors, and HVAC experts.

    Isabella Organ was one of the students who made it to the interview stage of the challenge.  She designed a game room using creative materials like carpet, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks for the pool table, cardboard, felt for the couch and chair, and stickers to decorate the walls.  She added pictures to represent her favorite video games, Street Fighter and Pac-Man.

    The top three winners were Corbin Fortenberry, who claimed first place overall and secured first place in the garage category; Avery Price, who won second place overall and first place in the bathroom category; and Martha Arana, who came in third place overall and took first place in the kitchen category.  Arana also earned extra praise for creating the most realistic workplace within her shoebox creation.

    The top three winners receive a free trip to STEM Day at Carowinds in April, which promises to provide them with exciting experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Additional winners also get the opportunity to participate in STEM Day at Carowinds.

    Stanley Middle School’s “Room Design Challenge” served as a pathway to creativity, learning, and teaching valuable life skills.  And, it just may have inspired the next generation of builders and engineers.

    Baxter stressed the importance of the project.  “This was about more than just designing rooms; it was about learning, sparking interests in various fields, and making math helpful by using it in the designs.  We aimed to provide students with skills that will stay with them as they grow and learn.”

    Stanley Middle School is home to Gaston County Schools’ STEAM Academy for grades 6-8.  The school focuses on the five areas of STEAM education – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.  Students from across Gaston County are eligible to apply to attend the STEAM Academy; the application and lottery process takes place in the spring.