With students on campus, they are able to participate in more hands-on work once again, and there’s nothing more hands on than woodworking. However, before they were able to come back, woodworking teachers had to get creative for projects without access to equipment. Central Middle School’s Patric Pehrson decided on having students put together biplanes and jewelry boxes, through the generous donation from Modern Design in Cologne.

“An agriculture teacher is always looking for resources in the community and to make lifelong connections,” said Pehrson. “With COVID brought distant learning, many challenges and it is very difficult to teach woodworking through a screen.”

Normally, the students in Basic Woodworking get the chance to put together multiple projects. Those projects include a bird house, keepsake box, a picnic caddy, and an end table. Of course, these projects require band saws and sanders at the school. So, when distance learning was in place, students needed a project that they could all do.

Pehrson reached out to Modern Design to see what they could do to help. They worked out a donation of 70 biplanes and 20 jewelry boxes for the students to put together at home.

“This was great because I assigned this during Christmas break and it gave the family the opportunity to work together and to put it together,” said Pehrson. “High school students also had to develop a step-by-step working plans on how to build their project.”

The middle school students were also educated on the history of biplanes and the kinds of careers in aviation as part of their project. All in all, it worked out perfectly. According to Pehrson, students were very excited for the project, and even wrote a “thank you” letter to Modern Design for their donation. The letter also included a photo of the completed project so the staff could see how the donations looked.

With students back at school, it’s business as usual for Pehrson’s class. With a new set of 8th graders to teach, there are a few plans for projects. The first is CO2 cars, a classic in woodworking courses. The high schoolers will be continuing their normal projects, including the bird houses, coffee tables, and end tables they normally get to do. The big challenge is time and the few students who remained distanced for personal reasons.

But, students are very happy to be back, and Pehrson is happy to see them.

“I’m really glad to be back in school because my life as an ag teacher is mostly hands on classes and being in school is a lot easier getting students working with their hands on projects instead through a screen,” he said.

Pehrson isn’t certain if he’ll be searching for another donation for students for the time being. With the hybrid schedule in place, and COVID numbers falling nationally, the future is certainly brighter for students and teachers alike. And they can’t wait to show off their projects.

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