Design lab students build new opportunities at their school

Design lab students build new opportunities at their school
Posted on 01/30/2024
Bernard design lab studentsYou can see the craftsmanship of design lab students throughout the Bernard Middle School campus. Students in this class are improving their school by identifying needs and solving problems through industrial design. 

Most recently, design lab students constructed portable stages for the theatre arts class and drama club. After going through the design process, Eric Heuerman’s students cut and assembled plywood and two-by-six boards. They also added wheels and handles so the stages could easily be transported where needed. The stages are collapsible and can be folded in half for easy storage. 

Bernard theatre stages
Image: Bernard Middle School design lab students construct portable stages for theatre students.

“We talked about framing, the use of power tools like cordless drills and power saws,” said Heuerman. “A lot of my students are interested in classes like this because it’s something new and exciting to do.” 

Heuerman’s students have helped other classes with necessary items, too. They previously constructed cornhole games and washer boxes for PE classes. They’re also working to create wooden seat replacements for stools used in classrooms. Once the plastic seats break, it can be costly to replace. The new wooden seats are less expensive and more durable.

Bernard students mark for handles
Image: Bernard Middle School design lab students measure and mark the location for handles to make stages they built for theatre students portable.

Theatre Arts students currently perform in a section of Robert Summers’ classroom. He says the new stages are going to improve their performances and let students know that they have the support of others in the school. 

“It’s the equivalent of putting an assignment on the fridge or in the hallway to elevate it,” said Summers. “It shows the woodworking students that they’re not just doing this for a grade. They are doing this to help people. It shows the people in the theater classes that we are a community of artists and students who can come together and build something better than any of us could by ourselves.” 

Students like knowing their work is making a difference for their school community. 

“I like that they’re benefiting from the work we’re doing,” said Claire Jablonski, an eighth-grade student. “It’s going to be used for a while, so more and more people will be able to use it.”

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].