DesignAbility at Linden

Posted by Admin on December 11, 2018 at 10:02 AM


Grade 7 students developing their designs for persons living with disability.

By Beth Alexander, STEM Teacher

The Grade 7 CERES class has been studying accessibility and ergonomics, and, inspired by the March of Dimes DesignAbility program, designed and built a number of accessibility devices. The DesignAbility program is designed to match up Makers with persons living with disability. Working with specific clients, the Makers build things that can make everyday tasks (such as preparing food, or pushing the buttons of an elevator) easier and more enjoyable, and allow people to live with greater independence. 

Each student made initial planning sketches with a particular type of client in mind. She then created a scaled drawing, and used a variety of skills to manufacture the model, including woodworking, 3D printing, and sewing. Along the way, modifications needed to be made, as is typical in any engineering challenge.

On December 5, 2018, Elaine Darling, an industrial designer and head of DesignAbility at March of Dimes, visited the class to see what they had built. Each girl displayed her working scale model and an informational poster. Elaine offered the students really thoughtful feedback about their work: what worked, and what they could do to take it even further. Elaine, who has worked with college and university students, but never any as young as our Grade 7 girls, was excited to see the projects.

"I'm blown away by what these girls have accomplished," she said, "These are really great ideas."

Interested in seeing more? The models and posters will be on display at the STEM for a Better World Fair in February!


Elaine Darling, an industrial designer and head of DesignAbility at March of Dimes, reviewing student designs.


Students showing their designs to Elaine Darling.


Elaine Darling speaking with Linden students.


Grade 7 student Bridgit O'Leary's "CP Swing" project.


Grade 7 student Isobel Scott's "Easy Access Rockwall" design.

Photo Credit: Beth Alexander