To continue our celebration of Black History Month, let’s make 2-function furniture to follow in the footsteps of Sarah E. Goode, the first African American woman to receive a US patent, for her cabinet bed design.

This week in Voyager STEM, we’ll learn about Sarah E. Goode, the first African American woman to get a US patent, for her invention of the cabinet bed. The cabinet bed served two functions, so we’re going to figure out how to make our own mini furniture that serves two functions too!

Materials could include anything around your Clubhouse, such as:

  • Recyclables
  • Cardstock
  • Construction paper
  • coloring/drawing implements
  • Paper clips
  • Brad fasteners
  • Rubber bands
  • Rulers
  • Binder clips
  • Craft sticks
  • Straws
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Single hole punches
  • Hot glue
  • Kindles to record “commercials/pitches”
  • Always have copies of maker notebooks for each STEM Voyager in your group

Lesson Flow:

  1. Gather materials.
  2. Show video on next tab.
  3. Introduce the challenge: Create a piece of furniture that serves at least two functions (i.e., like the cabinet bed, it can be either a cabinet or a bed).
  4. Let students fulfill the challenge alone or in pairs.
  5. The challenge is meant to take 2 sessions. If students finish early, have them record a pitch or commercial for their piece of furniture on one of the Kindles (upload to this folder).

Goals:

  • Explore the design process.
  • Fulfill criteria while staying within constraints.
  • Creatively work with limited materials.
  • Show empathy in designs.

Lesson Steps:

  1. Gather materials. They can be nearly anything. Most of the examples out there, however, involve thick paper or paperboard, and things to use as supports, such as craft sticks, straws, and pipe cleaners. Don’t forget more copies of the maker notebook!
  2. Show video on second tab and talk about why Sarah E. Goode’s invention was important: not only did she solve a problem for her customers, but she also was the first African-American woman to get a patent in the US!
  3. Introduce the challenge: Create a piece of furniture that serves at least two functions (i.e., like the cabinet bed, it can be either a cabinet or a bed). It also should not be larger than 10 inches along any dimension.
  4. Let students fulfill the challenge alone or in pairs. Remind them to fill out their maker notebooks.
  5. The challenge is meant to take 2 sessions. If students finish early, have them record a pitch or commercial for their piece of furniture on one of the Kindles (upload to this folder). Encourage them to plan out the script for the video and even write it down.