Furniture Design Project

As a ramp-up to the 8th-grade capstone Passion Project, we work to provide our students the experience of design and Design Thinking through various projects. This year, as a result to having little exposure to woodworking and power tool training due to the pandemic, our 8th grade DCM (Design•Code•Make) class focused on a furniture design and building unit.

We began the unit with a simple box prototype in cardboard and softwood so that students could grasp basic building principles, like framing and the impact of material thickness on total measurement. Then, students worked through various iterations using these consumable materials to get their designs just right.

We moved from the prototype to constructing a real-world storage bin for our Maker Court, training our students in the safe and proper use of each of the power tools. They also discovered various types of wood, effective clamping techniques, and how to create a cut list.

Concurrent with the tool training, we surveyed WNS faculty to see who might be interested in having something built for their classroom or office space. We received an overwhelming response and matched students with project ideas.

Over the next several weeks, students interviewed their clients to understand the design request, sketch out design ideas, and create their materials and cut lists. Then, they set off to build their furniture with newfound experience in each of the available power tools, including drills, drivers, bandsaw, miter saw, jigsaw, and table sander.

Projects ranged from bookshelves and step stools to shoe racks and rolling storage bins. The theater department requested portable swinging doors for use on stage, while a skateboard-riding administrator asked for a wall-mounted rack for her boards.

Below are a few photos of students working and seeing their projects coming to life.

A few sessions remain to complete all projects and submit final work to the clients. It has been a wonderful learning experience for students and faculty that we hope to repeat and refine in years to come.

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