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Eighth grade has hands-on science and technology experience

Student engage during field trip

Eighth grade spent quality time at the Guidecraft Design Studio in Tuxedo, New York, on Nov. 30.  Guidecraft specializes in system-based STEM toys and furniture.  

Many of their products are rooted in geometry and natural science, and build a sense of math through experiential play. The students got a sense of what a fun place it was to work as soon as they walked through the door.  The main office area had a very open format, with a large table full of wooden toys with rolling cars and ramps that was impossible to resist interacting with.  One wall was covered with plants growing in wool pockets, showcasing a product they are developing.  Another wall was covered with sketches of educational STEM toys and layouts for classroom furniture that emphasized inspirational vs. contemporary vs. organic perspectives.  

The employees each presented themselves, describing their background and education and what their job was today in support of the company. One employee with a communications degree spent time on her cell phone blogging with clients, developing relationship and exposure for their products.  Another was trained as an engineer and was building 3D models of the furniture he was designing, trying to create a full-size model to test before going to production.  Another spent her day skyping with colleagues in Vietnam, China, and Thailand.
The group toured the many different spaces, rooms filled with tools and racks of odd-shaped objects, and another room with 3D printers, tables, and couches for collaboration with colleagues.  

The students checked out the photography studio where their photographer (who had a degree in physics) took pictures of children exploring their products that would be used to create packaging and brochures.  

TPS students got a sense of all the aspects involved in creating a product, from developing the idea that targets a particular educational purpose, to figuring out the material science needed to make it, and eventually how to create aesthetic packaging that will help it sell.  

With all this inspiration, the students were given a task of their own:  to sketch and then build a small model of a movable chair that could be used in an educational setting.  They broke off into working groups and came up with some excellent ideas and intriguing models of their own.  

The visit was a great success in showing students the many different ways that science and technology are used in careers today.