Canyon Creek Middle School Design and Modeling Club Helps Reduce Expenditure Costs

Washougal, WA– Washougal School District has identified a collaborative and cost-saving way to help facilities staff maintain health and safety. The Canyon Creek Middle School after-school Design and Modeling club was a perfect match for Facilities, Maintenance, & Grounds Supervisor Jessica Beehner’s hand sanitizer catch basin project. She received a request to install an acrylic mat or drip tray under wall-mounted hand sanitizers in schools. Beehner could have ordered from a vendor to try to find something that was a good fit, but she had a better idea. Contacting Margaret Rice, Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE), Beehner explained the need and asked if there were students who could benefit from this kind of hands-on project.

Rice pitched the idea to Greg Lewis, who teaches Design & Modeling at both Jemtegaard and Canyon Creek middle schools. He also serves as the Design and Modeling Club Advisor at Canyon Creek Middle School. Lewis and the students immediately got to work doing research and designing a prototype out of cardboard. At first, there were to be teams, but the club came together as one to design the prototype.  “It was more of a collaborative effort in coming up with the design and dimensions,” Lewis said. “The students seemed to really enjoy both making a prototype out of cardboard to get the dimensions that we thought would work, then creating it in Tinkercad.” Utilizing a 3-D printer, the students watched their work evolve from design concept to final product. The sanitizer catch basins will be installed in all the schools, and the students will see their product working in real time.

Rice said, “This project solves a safety problem that will cost a lot less money than what could be purchased.” By utilizing the Design Club, facilities staff can make adjustments if needed, tailor the catch basins to exact specifications, and it allows the club members the opportunity for hands-on learning to solve a real-world problem. “This project allows them to work with the students to customize the basin, which they couldn’t do with the ‘off the shelf’ products out there for sale,” Rice said.

There are two Design and Modeling Clubs that meet after school on Mondays at 3:00 PM, one at Canyon Creek Middle School and one at Jemtegaard Middle School. They provide middle school students opportunities to learn how to design and create solutions to problems. The program educates them on how to communicate design ideas through sketches or prototypes, work collaboratively to identify design requirements, research topics, and engage stakeholders.”Through the process, they also learn more about the scope of our Facilities and Maintenance Supervisors’ jobs, giving our students a better understanding of how those jobs benefit the district,” Rice said.

This creative and innovative solution to a health and safety issue has been well received in the Facilities and Maintenance Department, and there will be more collaboration between the two. When asked if Rice wants to collaborate more with the CTE programs, Rice said “Absolutely! These types of projects are always welcome. Authentic learning is so much more fun and engaging for students.”