By KENNEDY PARKER
Penn High School Student Reporter
Penn’s all-girls Intro to Engineering Design (IED) class is continuing to work on a project to promote learning and helping others. The project, coined, “Voice for Braylen” is allowing the students to work together to solve a real-life problem. Click here to read part one of Braylen’s story.
The project is centered around Braylen, a kindergarten student at Elsie Rogers Elementary School in the Penn-Harris-Madison school district. Braylen has been diagnosed with Joubert Syndrome, which affects his balance and coordination. Braylen is very intelligent, but unable to speak and is faced with mobility challenges. He will soon receive a new device to help him speak, called the Accent 800. This technology will allow Braylen to touch different pictures on the screen and the tablet will speak for him. Penn’s engineering class is designing and building a stand that will hold the device and make it mobile so that Braylen can easily take it with him during the school day.
On Monday, March 21, the girls’ IED class traveled to Elsie Rogers to meet with Braylen. They tested out their first design, conferred with Braylen’s teacher, aides, and principal, and gathered measurements.
The students were able to see his school environment and learn more about new constraints for the structure. Braylen is really hoping that it can go outside so that he can communicate with his friends at recess. Ideally, the mobility device would be able to collapse or become smaller so that it can travel with him to and from school. Now, with this feedback, the engineering students are beginning to talk about ideas for their second mock-up.
While at Elsie Rogers, the girls split up into teams to take turns meeting with Braylen, Mr. Langfeldt, the principal at Elsie, and his aides. The teams that weren’t meeting with Braylen took time to work on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) related activities with the other students in Braylen’s kindergarten class. The activities included building marble runs, making towers out of plastic cups, and building structures out of toothpicks and marshmallows.
The students are grateful for this opportunity to not only learn more about engineering and manufacturing, but to help out the community as well.