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Hamlin Students Take on Polar Challenge

Student-designed footwear is part of real-world STEM project

Students from two Hamlin Middle School classrooms headed to the rink to test if the footwear they’ve designed works as well as the animals it’s modeled after.

Students from Zack Allen and Jen Butler’s science classrooms were challenged to assemble in teams to research animals from wintry climates and see if they could design footwear to mimic the animals’ success. The students’ charge: "I can be a biomimic and work with my team to engineer a device that attaches to a shoe and gives me better traction on ice.”

Students studied a variety of animal foot adaptations and then tried to mimic them on the shoe attachments. They also used a force sensor to test their prototype's static and kinetic friction and compare it to a regular shoe. The rink will have several stations set up to test the footwear.
This is the third year of the Polar Challenge in Jen's classroom. The project originated from the 2012 Content in Context grant, a Math Science Partnership grant involving several area school districts in conjunction with a variety of local science-based businesses. The goal of the grant was to provide training and resources to teachers to develop project-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons for their science classrooms that simulate real-world problem solving.

Read more about the unique Content in Context grant projects,
as well as the latest Math Science Partnership grant, Content in Context SuperLessons, at www.stem.lane.edu. Find out more about STEM in Springfield at www.springfield.k12.or.us/stem.