HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WLNS) – Lunch time is many students’ favorite hour of the day…
But a 15-year-old student in Pope Prep High School’s Genius Hour innovation class pointed out that isn’t always the case.
“The challenge was to think of things in your community that could benefit others. And as we walked around the school, there were lots of fantastic ideas. But then we walked to the cafeteria. And Adeline said, ‘I think we need a lunch tray.’ And I said, Well, ‘what do you mean by a lunch tray?'” said Jennifer Dye, Pope Prep’s Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
“They needed a lunch tray because their food could be everywhere and then they’d have to pick it up and put it in garbage can,” said sophomore Adaline Hamlin.
An embarrassing fate for students who struggle to hold objects steady.
“Her idea came from an experience she had where she saw someone spill their lunch into the floor. And she really used that first step of design thinking which is empathy,” said Dye.
Once her teacher approved her project, Adaline Hamlin set out to design a new lunch tray.
“We pulled out popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners and straws and paper clips and all different kinds of materials. And Adeline picked bendy straws because she figured out that if you use the bendy straw, you could actually create these angles that the plate would fit into,” Dye said.
Prototype in hand, Adaline took her project to the 3D printing club to help make her tray come to life.
It was only a matter of hours before the new tray was ready for a lap around the lunchroom.
“My best friend has tried and tested it with french fries, pizza, things like that. And apple juice of course! It worked!” Hamlin said.
A success made sweeter when Adaline was awarded the ‘STEM for All Award’ at the Tennessee STEM and Innovation Network’s Statewide Design competition.
She titled her project “Stop the Slide: a Lunch Tray for Students with Disabilities.” It’s a 3D printing project other schools can now use by just requesting her 3D printing file.
“As you have the printer the amount of filament would be less than $5. So you can take your lunch tray and for less than $5 print the components,” said Dye.
A new lunch tray made by a student pointing out a need.