During the second half of the school year, Keystone Oaks' elementary STEAM teachers coordinate an Invention Convention project, in which 5th grade students use the Engineering Design Process to redesign and improve either their desk, chair or locker and then build a prototype of their idea using recycled materials.
Last school year, a group of nine teachers and administrators had the opportunity to participate in a similar process.
Only, instead of furniture made with recycled materials, they helped to select the actual desks, chairs, and furniture that were installed in 43 Keystone Oaks elementary, special education, and reading specialist classrooms this summer.
Unsurprisingly, some of the elements that are popular in the Invention Convention - like whiteboard desktops and wheels on desks - are what the committee selected, too.
Working with Pittsburgh-based company Corbett, Inc., the committee evaluated several design options, including desk and chair styles for students, room set ups, and teacher desks. They came up with three different options and each teacher was able to select their preference.
The result is flexible, more spacious classrooms with furniture that can easily be moved to reflect the purpose of the teachers’ instruction, whether that be independent learning or a space that allows for group work and collaboration.
The total cost of the project was $436,807. This is a multi-year project that will continue with grades 3-5 receiving new furniture at the start of the 2024-2025 school year and with middle and high school classrooms being refurnished in subsequent years.