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Junior High Student Solves Problem for Math Teachers

Junior High Student Solves Problem for Math Teachers

"Anyone have thoughts on how to store the new stylus pens we now use in math class? I need an organization system to hold 25-30 pens so kids can take as needed and I can easily see all 25 are there at the end of class."

When Independence math and science teacher Jennifer Hall posed this question in a parent email, she had no idea who would help solve her problem. A series of connections would lead to Liberty Junior seventh-grader Claire Denlinger.

Innovation specialist Kristina Linberg heard about the request and immediately thought of Doug Noxsel’s Design and Modeling class at Liberty Junior. The course is held in partnership with Butler Tech and helps junior high students acquire knowledge and skills in problem solving, teamwork, and innovation as well as explore STEM careers. When Noxsel heard about the need at Independence, he put Claire to the task.

“Claire is an outstanding problem solver,” said Noxsel. She found a way to organize the numbered stylus pens, making them quickly accessible and easy to hand off to partner teachers.

What does Hall think about the final result? “I am so excited about the stylus holders. The junior high student listened to my needs, made a model, took feedback and then made it better.” She added, “This is the epitome of PBL [project-based learning]!” 

Claire took the initiative and ended up designing a stylus block for all the Independence math teachers. Hall added, “I have had teachers yell my name down the hall or stop in to say, ‘I hear we have you to thank for this!’ But really, Claire and her teacher should get all the credit.” 

Hall loves that her fourth graders were able to see how a student just a few years older than them could solve the problem and engineer a perfect solution. Noxsel says that he receives many requests like this for special Design and Modeling projects. Currently two of his students, Mya Boyce and Zach Huon, are repurposing a rolling chair into a standing rolling table for Coach Rico Hill. “It’s so gratifying to give students the opportunity to work on special ungraded assignment like these. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

  • real world learning