Engineering Students Build Cube for Special Education Class


Engineering students present the cube they designed and built to Mrs. Wortman’s class.

Reagan Blackwell , News/Opinions Editor

As a community service out-reach, students in Mr. Jim Clark’s Engineering 102 presented Hamilton’s special education teacher, Mrs. Kim Wortman, with a project designed to assist her students in various learning activities.  Known as “The Cube”, this five-sided hallow wooden box focuses on improving disabled students’ fine motor skills and senses.

The idea of the cube was proposed and presented by students in the class. “The engineering class came to us saying they had a grant for a community service project.  This year they decided to keep it in house,” said Wortman.

Prior to the start of the project, students including senior Alex Weber collaborated with Mrs. Wortman about the activities that would benefit those in the special education program. “The class the year before us started the idea,” said Alex, “but each of us took on a part of the project.  The process took about 6-8 weeks to design and build.”

Dynamics of the special education class are constantly shifting as students learn and experience new events daily.   “Mrs. Wortman gave some ideas,” said Mr. Clark regarding the planning and research of the cube.  “She mentioned that their cognitive skills are at low levels, so they need more basic physical stimulation.” Magnetic pieces on the space game board, zippers, textures of Astroturf grass and marbles, buttons, and rotating screws require more interaction using the senses of sight and touch.

The Cube encourages Wortman’s students to interact not only with the games on the cube, but also with their peers.  “Centers are a big deal in this class,” said Wortman. “Each group has about three to four kids, and the cube is an activity fit for two groups.”

Part of the cube’s requirements was that the weight and size needed to be manageable for transporting by teachers.  “The sides of the cube fold together and there is a total of three parts, two of which two are connected to each other,” said Alex.  The design of the sides can be changed if Wortman’s class ever wants new activities on the cube.