Weather Forecast


Student engineers step forward with unique helmet designs

This team of students learned that cheap is not always the best for helmets.  Pictured from left to right are Jacoby Whyle, Tommy Siebenaler (wearing the helmet), Owen Glade (standing behind Tommy), and Brennen Kieffer. Star Gazette photos by Jane Lightbourn

The large sign was direct and simple – “Put a Lid on It” and that is exactly what 180 Hastings Middle School students did last week as part of Engineering Everywhere curriculum.

The enrichment class allowed the students, working in teams, to solve or design safety helmets in order to protect their heads. The engineering unit was part of the curriculum developed by the Museum of Science in Boston.

For three days last week, the students’ safety helmets were displayed in one of the school’s art rooms. Other written and illustrated materials about concussions were also displayed by the students. Parents were invited to view the displays, talk to students and rate the displays.

One team worked together to create a helmet in five hours. They used bubble wrap, cotton balls, cardboard and tape. Even the tie on the helmet was placed in a certain spot for safety.

“It’s cool and safe,” said Tommy Siebenaler. The different layered materials all have to work together to be safe, he said.

The price tag for their helmet was about $43, not cheap, but worth it. They agreed that safety was the number one concern.

Cole Mikel and Lucas Hausley worked together as a team. Cotton balls and bubble wrap were the major materials. It was not quite complete, needing more padding, they admitted. Each wore a “regular” sports helmet for demonstration purposes.

McKayla LaCoursiere, Sabreena Cover and Tavaii Josephine Erickson worked as a team. They brainstormed for an idea before deciding on one.

“We tested the helmet on a trial-and-error basis,” said Sabreena. Like other students, they tested their helmets by dropping an object from different heights onto it and seeing what the impact would be. In this project they used a paint ball.

With the use of duct tape, cotton balls and bubble wrap, the girls designed and developed their own helmet, which was safe to use.

“It is better to have your head safe then being sorry when something happens,” said Sabreena.

The projects involved teamwork, communication with each other, problem solving, being creative and using thinking skills.