Jan 18
Take a Seat!

Mix and match the students, give them materials and time, add some glue and fasteners, and what do you have? An innovative end-of-term activity that engages students in trade-specific hands-on learning.

It's the brainchild of Cabinetry & Woodworking Instructors Vern Bergen, Aubrey Doerksen and Frank Jess, and it took place on the last day of term before the holiday break. 

The activity required three different groups of students at different stages in their Cabinetry programs to work together in small groups. Their task was to design and then build a chair using only two 8-foot-long spruce 2x4s – in just three and a half hours! The only rules were to be safe, creative and willing to adapt to the team's best ideas.Aubrey's Chair Activity.jpg

Civilian judges, including Christine Watson, judged the chairs for strength, comfort, appearance, and creativity. Every judge awarded points in each category for their top chairs, and the three chairs with the highest overall points were the winners. The winning teams were rewarded with a selection of tools related to their trade.

“The activity is a great way for students to wrap up the term and flex their design, build, and team skills all in one," said Aubrey. “They can see what they have actually learned throughout their time in the program and apply it in a situation that has minimal restrictions to creativity.  I love seeing them get creative and practice working together with other students who have different competencies – their strengths really shine as they problem-solve cooperatively toward a common goal."

Teaching for learning doesn't get better than that, does it!


How are you able to bring hands-on learning into your teaching in the classroom or shop? Sign in above, then comment below to join the conversation.


Are there pictures of the f...

Are there pictures of the finished products? Great idea!
Picture Placeholder: Ruth Lindsey-Armstrong
  • Ruth Lindsey-Armstrong
 on 1/18/2019 9:02 AM

Awesome job Aubrey, Vern an...

Awesome job Aubrey, Vern and Frank! Great way to end the term and create a collaboration between the classes.

Picture Placeholder: Scott Savoy
  • Scott Savoy
 on 1/18/2019 9:04 AM

I can absolutely imagine th...

I can absolutely imagine the energy in that classroom while that activity was happening! Creating those situations where students have to draw on their knowledge and think on their feet is excellent! Btw, I second Ruth's request for more images...I bet those chairs were amazing.
Picture Placeholder: Jayne M Geisel
  • Jayne M Geisel
 on 1/18/2019 9:15 AM

Great job Team for continui...

Great job Team for continuing to engage in innovative and collaborative opportunities with our students! Your efforts and passion for teaching and learning are allowing our students to be better prepared to hit the ground running! We are proud of you!
Picture Placeholder: Michael Watson
  • Michael Watson
 on 1/18/2019 9:27 AM

Fun! I'd like to see the ch...

Fun! I'd like to see the chairs too.
Picture Placeholder: Sherry L Seymour
  • Sherry L Seymour
 on 1/18/2019 10:17 AM

Hardly surprising that Aubr...

Hardly surprising that Aubrey, Frank and Vern would come up with something so engaging for their students!  What a fun way to combat the end of term dsitractions and do some learning at the same time!
Picture Placeholder: Teresa L. Menzies
  • Teresa L. Menzies
 on 1/18/2019 10:50 AM

Thanks everyone!  Here is a...

Thanks everyone!  Here is a small collection of photos from the day:
Picture Placeholder: Aubrey S Doerksen
  • Aubrey S Doerksen
 on 1/18/2019 11:45 AM

What a fantastic example of...

What a fantastic example of authentic assessment, and so nice that the students were able to share their work.
Picture Placeholder: Nadine Ogborn
  • Nadine Ogborn
 on 1/18/2019 12:42 PM

What a great way to demonst...

What a great way to demonstrate the correlation between allowing for creativity and student engagement - Students are creating, talking & smiling (what?) I am sure that this activity would have been less enjoyable if they all had to produce the exact same chair design. Who said learning can't be fun? Nice work team!
Picture Placeholder: Judy McGuirk
  • Judy McGuirk
 on 1/18/2019 2:30 PM

Aubrey, Frank and Vern this...

Aubrey, Frank and Vern this is inspiring! 

I am pumped that I have access to such innovative ideas through this blog!
Picture Placeholder: Lindsay Mulholland
  • Lindsay Mulholland
 on 1/18/2019 2:57 PM