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Students cross curricula for Canstruction at Bob Jones

MADISON – A can-do attitude is guiding solutions with “Canstruction” for students at Bob Jones High School.

This depiction of the sphinx was an international winner in Canstruction for 2011. (CONTRIBUED)
This depiction of the sphinx was an international winner in Canstruction for 2011. (CONTRIBUED)

Students are building oversized structures using cans of food. They must work in a six-foot square workspace.

Their ‘canned’ exhibits are stationed throughout the building. Later, they will disassemble their constructions and donate the canned food to North Alabama Food Bank.

Classes in three diverse disciplines are collaborating for the Canstruction charity: Robin Lakso and Jennifer Norton, art; Jeremy Raper, engineering; and Kenneth Bourque, geometry.

Six teams have about three students from each class. This configuration gives an expert from each subject discipline.

While open to anyone, Canstruction traditionally has been reserved for professionals and groups outside education. “We started five years ago competing through Canstructure and now Can Do Good,” Raper said. Raper endorses the practice of giving students a problem with multiple solutions “to think outside the norm.”

At the start of the projects, the groups presented ideas to the customer (teachers, in this scenario). The funded projects build their canstructions around Bob Jones “to call attention to the plight of those without food,” Raper said.

Teachers approved designs for the sinking Titanic, a cassette tape, Nintendo 3DS, smart car, the leg lamp from “Christmas Story” and a can opener.

Canstruction shows students “how to work in groups outside of this room. In the real world, people work together in various teams/groups to create solutions together,” Lakso said.

“Art students were the main force for the design of each structure,” Norton said. “They sketched out and colored the designs. This project reinforces what they do in the art room: design, composition and color theory.”

Canstruction “is a valuable asset in teaching to solve problems and work with unorthodox materials. By collaborating with other departments, we model how the real world will work,” Raper said.

For more information, visit canstruction.org and designbuildeat.com.

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