Kid Inventors’ Day - January 17- SD73 Celebrates Creativity and Inquiry in Classrooms

Posted On Wednesday January 18, 2023

Kamloops-Thompson School District acknowledges and celebrates “Kid Inventors’ Day” which is celebrated on January 17 each year.  In our 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, we aim to develop students’ competencies, including critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and foundational skills such as literacy and numeracy within the Intellectual Development Priority.

This day is observed internationally to emphasize the importance of developing competencies in children such as critical and creative thinking, and a disposition of inquiry and wanting to learn and grow.

In SD73, we have many staff and staff and students who foster these competencies and a disposition of inquiry within their classrooms and through district-supported activities and field trips. 

Mr. Wood was kind enough to share what he is doing to design learning opportunities for his students that inspire them to thrive (our District Mission) and to foster their curiosities and creative thinking.

Mr. Wood’s Gr. 5/6 class runs their own business called Woodlands Coffee Shop, where they act in the role of “employees of the shop” and as such participate and design a variety of products to make “money”. For example, they create designs to print on clothing, pour-over coffee, soap, stickers, and so on.

This year, one student, Eoghan Russell, created a presentation to the class to propose making their own “fingerboards” (mini skateboards like “TechDecks”) from scratch. He researched and learned about the materials and skills needed, and the class approved it! Eoghan is the class expert and production manager for the fingerboards department of the class “business”.

During math blocks, students figured out the individual cost of each fingerboard (from the total costs of each product/material bought in bulk).

The class began by buying raw oak and maple veneer, wood glue and a fingerboard shaped plastic mold. The veneer is measured and drawn into “blank” rectangle layers and cut out by the teacher (just like plywood blanks that skateboard decks are made of). Five layers are glued together (in a specific order), then placed in the mold and clamped together to let dry for 24 hours. Once the board/deck has been formed, it is shaped and smoothed by sanding it down with sandpaper or a palm sander, and then holes are drilled for the trucks and wheels.

Mr. Wood identified a manufacturer for the metal trucks, bearings and hardware (screws), and purchased a bulk order for these parts directly from a small factory.

For the wheels, Eoghan measured the exact dimensions of a small (about 7mm wide) fingerboard wheel. Then, with the help of their teacher librarian, Ms. Kipp, the whole class used Tinkercad to design prototype wheels to be 3D printed with the school’s 3D printer (in collaboration with Science Coordinator, Morgan Whitehouse). 

Ms. Kipp explained, “3D design and printing is a challenging but rewarding way to incorporate hands-on learning in classroom projects. We know that learning takes patience and time, and this is especially true with 3D design in a project like this where we had to measure very small parts to make these tiny wheels within a low margin of error. There are numerous opportunities here for students to develop resilience and perseverance while they build, explore, communicate, and create something with real-world applications.”

Currently, students are working through the first wheel variations and are narrowing down the adaptations that need to be made for the 2nd variation that will be printed next.

The class plans on 3D printing their own fingerboard molds to increase the production of the fingerboard decks.

Once the deck is complete, the students will be positioned to design the graphic for each board (paint pens), assemble the complete deck (deck, trucks, wheels and bearings, hardware, grip foam), and sell them.

Students are using a large range of skills and competencies while working on this project such as creating slide presentations to propose their idea, developing numeracy skills by estimating and confirming the cost per fingerboard, analyzing profit margins, communicating to manufacture the decks and 3D print the custom wheels, honing fine arts and trades skills, solving problems as a team, and using critical and creative thinking.

Eoghan explained, “This project helps me practice skills with woodwork, and teaches other kids how to do things that can bring more interest to school and spark ideas for later on in life. It is a creative way to build something, that once you are done, you can use it and look back on it and say ‘I built this’”.

Mrs. Edstrom, “This project really shows how we can engage students in their interest areas while fulfilling learning objectives. These students initiated this idea and have worked hard to develop their thinking. I am so proud of them”

We are proud of our staff and students in SD73 and we encourage and celebrate projects like these that encourage Kids to be Inventors!

Thank you to Ms. Edstrom, Mr. Wood, Ms. Kipp, and to the students, notably Eoghan, who shared their story.

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