My school’s new design lab has a sound problem. The lack of ceiling tiles makes the room have a very hard, echoing sound. This is problematic when we’re having design classes in there, but it was going to be a real problem for the school dance tonight.
So one of the eighth grade girls proposed that it was time to address a real-world problem… how to muffle and dampen the sound in the Design Studio.
So they did. Those awkward squares of brown velour — mounted on poles of PVC pipe and strung with nylon cord — are hardly the elegant solutions of a trained acoustical engineer. But they absorb and muffle sound from the massive DJ station one of the eighth graders is planning to set up.
Thanks to the 60-year-old sewing machine I picked up at a yard sale, and that a parent refurbished; thanks to a quick trip to a hardware store; thanks to the assistance of our school’s drama program director; and thanks to the willingness of a sports-obsessed, basketball-crazy boy who was willing to learn to work a sewing machine; and thanks to a confident, no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners seventh grade girl — we got these crazy fabric sound baffles designed, built and hung in an hour.
They’re not perfect. But they’re kid-designed, and kid-built. Tonight, a student will DJ the dance under these banners of student design. And the kids will KNOW, without exception, that they can make any decoration or tool for this room that they need.
Because they made these.