GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Grand Haven elementary students had the opportunity to support local firefighters by partnering with the Grand Haven Township Fire Rescue to help with their gear efficiency, according to a news release Wednesday.
The collaboration was part of the district’s “Homegrown” program, which combines design thinking and project-based learning, paring students with local companies and organizations to solve real-life challenges related to their line of business.
Students from Peach Plains Elementary, Robinson Elementary and Rosy Mound Elementary were asked to consider their driving question: “How can Grand Haven Township Fire Rescue more efficiently dry their turnout gear after a fire?”
They then worked through the “creative sequence” stages, including observation, investigation, incubation, solution and validation, to come up with their solutions to present to the fire department.
“The district’s Homegrown program focuses on elementary students and encouraging design thinking at an early age,” said Andrew Ratke, a STEM teacher in the district. “It takes project-based learning one step further. We foster deep thinking within our classrooms while nurturing business connections within our community.”
Students researched what a firefighter’s job requires and how they currently dry turnout gear.
Videos were filmed at the fire station to assist with the investigation, including areas of the building, trucks and interviews with firefighters.
Students also created prototypes of their ideas and presented them virtually.
In total, the project was two weeks long and mostly took place virtually.