South Orangetown Central School District

Earlier this week, first-graders in Carol Kuhn’s class received first-hand career insights and maze-building tips from W.L. Gore & Associates Material Science Process Engineer Julie Kuhn (who also happens to be Mrs. Kuhn’s daughter). Ms. Kuhn explained that problem-solving, critical thinking, identifying ways to improve projects, and wearing protective equipment are all important parts of her job. Then, she and the students got to work.

The project, Build a Better Maze, was funded through an Orange & Rockland STEM grant awarded to Mrs. Kuhn in May. Students were challenged to build a maze to contain a marble for the longest possible time. Using timers and Q-Ba-Maze kits, students worked in groups to build a maze, then time and record the flow of marbles through the structure. A friendly competition at the end of the session determined which team was able to “Build a Better Maze.”

Having the opportunity to build with an engineer was exciting for students, but the real value was about more than design and construction. “Most importantly, Julie talked about troubleshooting and learning how to make a project better by fixing mistakes,” said Mrs. Kuhn.

Material science engineer building maze with first-grade students