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Middle School Students Unleash their Creative Spirit with Converse PDF Print E-mail

Middle school students are passionate about fashion, particularly footwear. So when the eighth grade embarked on a project that required them to design the “Ultimate Teen sneaker,” motivation, interest and opinions were not in short supply.

Eighth graders were given an in depth tour of Converse headquarters in North Andover. There they saw 3D printers that produce prototypes, learned about how flexibility of shoes is measured and were given a history of the company. A panel of Converse employees also led a discussion about academic and career choices that lead them to work for this sneaker company.

Back at LFDCS, students decided what type of consumer they would design for. This required them to put together an inspiration board and carry out primary and secondary research. Students designed survey questions which they gave to the fifth, sixth and seventh graders, and the findings from the survey helped determine each shoe design. Eighth graders learned a number of skills that helped them grow as a learning community. Students learned that the needs of the consumer must always come first, and that personal opinions, though important, are secondary in this situation. They also used Pugh charts as a way to support the decision-making process. Each homeroom had to choose a single design from a selection of fourteen. Listing attributes for their sneakers and scoring them in a Pugh chart made this process much more manageable. Students were commended by Converse for working as teams. LFDCS students began to see that the Engineering design process is a lot easier when you have a team to help make it happen.

The project culminated in students presenting their findings in a PowerPoint presentation to members of the Converse Company. Those representing Converse included: John “ Spud” Foti, Jose DesChamps, Dawna Bulter, Matt Telleen, Kristen LaFontaine and Dave Dirsa.

In addition, the creative spirit was unleashed by one student making an additional design. Wilfredo Santiago, under his own initiative, went on to design an LFDCS sneaker incorporating the school's wolf prints symbolizing the LFDCS mascot and stars that represent the school's vision for our students "Reaching for the Stars."


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