Grande Prairie Public School Students took part in the Neil Squire Society’s campaign called Marker Making Change Hacking for the Holidays.
The students at Crystal Park School used their STEM skills during challenges that adapt toys for kids with disabilities. Students will incorporate ‘switch jacks’ into the toys giving the toys the ability to connect to assistive technology to be activated. According to the Neil Squire Society, commercial switches and switch-accessible toys can exceed $100 each, leaving many families and therapists without toys that are important to childhood development.
The challenges teach students about the benefits of assistive technology devices, and how materials printed on a 3D printer can bring down costs. STEM Coordinator at Crystal Park School Gitte Rushton says the work the students built will be given out across the province.
“Our STEM students built over 50 battery interrupters, 15 whale bubble blower toys, and 15 unicorn toys. For many students, it was their first time using wire strippers and learning to solder,” Rushton says.
The students reacted positively to the program, with one grade 6 student saying that even though they were scared of the soldering it wasn’t hard and they had fun. While grade 8 student Natalya says she likes doing something good for the community.
“Hopefully, others can see and become part of the change to help others,” Natalya says.
The grade 6 to 8 students who took part in the challenge were able to grow their skills and learn, while also giving back at the same time.