Students in LISD ‘Extreme Design Camp’ take ideas to downtown Tecumseh

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Camp students designed a Monopoly board featuring local landmarks for Howard Hanna, connecting a “properties” theme between the game and the businesses. Pictured at Martin’s Home Center during Extreme Design Camp were Cassidy Steger (l-r), Alyssa Ringer, Mackenzie Deters, Brookelynn Johnson, Paige Rupley and Zach Davison. Photo by Jim Lincoln.

When students ask, “What am I ever going to use this for?” as they study math and other subjects, not all teachers have a ready answer. But middle school students who signed up for a Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD) TECH Center “Extreme Design Camp” experienced an up-close-and-personal look at how skills learned in school could be transferred to real world activities.
Students have been meeting on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to noon.

“They each get to design a room of their choice,” said Mary Tommelein, LISD TECH Center Counselor, who led the camp with another staff member, Justin Myers. “Some chose to re-design a bedroom, others did an office or family room.”

Tommelein said students had to take measurements of their room and draw a floor plan. Myers then took them through design of a plan using computer graphics.
“While they may know fractions, they haven’t had a lot of experience measuring rooms and figuring it out to scale,” she said. They also talked with their parents to determine the budget they would be working within.

On Saturday, March 9, the students took a field trip into Tecumseh. First, they stopped by Martin’s Home Center to examine paint samples and look at potential furniture for the room they were redesigning at home.

For the second part of the trip, students split into teams to assist with displays at Howard Hanna, Blush Boutique, The Sports Hut, Rock, Paper Scissors, and The Wild Iris. Displays may be viewed in windows, such as the monopoly board students designed for Howard Hanna, connecting its properties theme to the game, a vintage bicycle at Blush, and a display advertising the upcoming Divas at Dusk event at Wild Iris. One group also visited Above the Grind, redesigning furniture placement and accent displays.

“We were so thankful for the support of these businesses, and also Tecumseh Plywood that supplied work aprons for tools,” said Tommelein. She added that Tecumseh High School students also assisted with the camp including Kailey Russell, who helped with the graphic design process, and Paige Rupley, Brookelynn Johnson and Paxton Brown.

Camp participants made comments about how tough it was to take accurate measurements and found the conversions to be a challenge.

“A couple of the students said they had no idea how hard it would be to dress a mannequin or put a window together and how much work that was,” said Tommelein. “The primary intent was to teach kids some computer graphic skills, math skills, and some marketing and entrepreneur skills. They’re actually going to sell their plan for their room at home to their parents.” The students will have one final session next weekend and will learn to paint, spackle, caulk and hang pictures.

Tommelein said she was pleased to have an opportunity to teach again through the camp.

“I like to teach and I once taught Interior Design at Tecumseh High School,” she said. “I also like the fact that the camp teaches kids to take what they’ve learned in school and turn it into a fun project. And we really appreciated the support of the businesses who took part in the experience.”




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