Middle School P.E. and STEAM Collaborate to Make New Javelins

Collaboration isn't just an educational buzzword at Taipei American School; it's a way of life for both students and faculty. Last school year, despite the many difficulties presented by the year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the two middle school departments - Physical Education and STEAM - decided to collaborate on a project to benefit students through the curriculum and program offerings. 

According to Middle School P.E. teacher Michelle Lawgun, the Middle School Physical Education team was starting the track and field unit and knew that we had many faulty javelins. "We had already ordered new parts," she said, "but they were not arriving until the new school year."

And so the Middle School P.E. department looked to its own expert "makers" for advice. "Becky Maguire and Brian Tobey had been chatting about other STEAM-related ideas and the notion of the 3D javelin tips was born," said Lawgun. "Becky and Brian took a visit over to the Solomon Wong Tech Cube."

The Middle School STEAM teachers were very excited about the possibility of making something practical to benefit students and the P.E. program. Middle School Tech Cube Assistant Wen Chien produced the first prototype in less than 24hours. The 2nd prototype was released a few days later after Brian and Wen met to discuss some improvements with the design. In particular, they were looking to improve the attachment of the tip to the javelin shaft.

The end result? The middle school students were excited that we were able to use many more of the javelins in P.E. rather than getting the broken ones. 

Michelle Lawgun says that the collaboration was ultimately a success. "We love that the replacement tips could be produced on campus and at such an efficient rate," she said. "If we can utilize this process more often then there will be many pieces of equipment that could be repaired back to perfect working order."

Although there are no future collaborations planned, the Middle School STEAM and P.E. departments remain open to new initiatives.
In fact, in early September, Lawgun and fellow MS P.E. teacher Judy Fung met with two Grade 7 girls from Maguire’s Design the Difference class to assist them in designing water bottle racks to stop bottles from falling off the bleachers.

“We shared and swapped ideas and have plans to meet them again when they come up with some more solid ideas.”