4th-graders at Hoffman Trails Elementary were engaged, as Dr, Rachel Kajfez, shared about the toy adaptation process. Dr. Kajfez leads the TAP (Toy Adaptation Program) at The Ohio State University, where she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education. Dr. Kajfez shared how play is how every child learns about their world. Some children, because of their unique needs, may need toys or materials to be adapted or modified so they can fully engage in play opportunities. Dr. Kajfez showed students the three basic types of circuits: Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel which are used in creating switches for a toy. First, engineers take the toy apart to find the adaptor points that cause the toy to move, light up and or make noise. Then engineering students solder the wires, and then they test the toys.
The following week students launched a Toy Adaptation Design Thinking, where students researched design adaptations for children with differing abilities so they can play and interact with them to maintain their functionality. Design thinking is where students will first empathize and define the problem, then ideate, build prototypes and test them with students, and lastly, they will create a presentation of their design. These toys will be in an Exploration Zone in the Hoffman Trails Innovation and Discovery Center.