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Complex Shape Design Challenge in 3rd-5th Grade Woodshop

Woodshop students in 3rd–5th Grade have been applying their skills to a design challenge in which they cut one or two complex shapes – like a heart, star, or circle – and build a structure that includes three parts.

The possible configurations are endless, providing students with an opportunity to exercise personal choice and creativity while learning and applying various skills including:

  • Setting up work tables with c-clamps or bar clamps to stabilize work
  • Using a coping saw to cut complex shapes
  • Using a miter box to cut a square cut 
  • Setting up portable vises for the sanding and shaping process
  • Making pilot holes in preparation for nailing and attaching wood parts
  • Using glue, hammer, and nails to assemble the various parts of their structure

Responses to this challenge have included mini shelves, rolling toys, standing sculptures, and many other interesting ideas. The pieces vary just as widely in surface design, with some students choosing to stain their wood, others drawing on the surface of their parts with paint markers or color pencils, and others keeping their wood surfaces natural.