At Trinity Hall, an all-girls college preparatory high school in Monmouth County, NJ, students use their own creativity together with hands-on projects to promote an understanding and appreciation of the engineering design process. The engineering thought process is so important to the school’s interdisciplinary curriculum that students are required to take four years of engineering/design in order to graduate.
As part of the 9th grade students’ culminating final experience, the Introduction to Engineering class participated in a Cardboard Chair Challenge, a project most often found at the college level. The thread that has been pulled through these students’ first year of design class weaves the principles of sustainable design and appropriate technology for the future that will encourage social and environmental sustainability. To show their understanding of these concepts, students were asked to design and develop a prototype chair that was made strictly out of cardboard using only jointing, folding or flat packing style techniques for assembly. This challenge is modeled after a college-level design competition, with similar parameters for the overall product.
“Maker culture is at the heart of our design program” said Kali Lambrou, STE(a)M faculty member. “We could have done this virtually through a modeling application but we chose to give the students an authentic experience just like real designers, including all the challenges of making a prototype by hand.”
All the chairs were tested with a series of appropriate quantitative and qualitative tests. The winners of the challenge are pictured here, enjoying the whimsical but ergonomic function of her chair.
Trinity Hall is an independent all-girls college preparatory high school, educating and empowering young women in the Catholic tradition. Trinity Hall’s core values of leadership, respect, perseverance and faith are foundational to our mission and work as educators.