Student Empowered to Help Polly the Pug

Chris Glynn is a teacher at Barton Middle School in Buda, Texas. Chris has earned credentials in PLTW Gateway units Design and Modeling, Automation and Robotics, Magic of Electrons, Science of Technology, Flight and Space, Energy and the Environment, and Green Architecture.

Applying the practices learned in our Design and Modeling classes, a student, Ella, has been working on creating a set of wheels for Polly the Pug. 

Polly, a rescue Pug, has a degenerative disc disease and is slowly losing use of her hind legs. 

Ella and Polly have met on several occasions to test-fit the prototype and make adjustments to the design. The process has been a fantastic learning experience with great real-world relevance. 

Ella shares her take on the experience below:

I worked on a wheelchair for a pug named Polly using the design process from Design and Modeling. She has degenerative disc disease, so she can’t use her back legs very well.

Using the design process from class, we set out to complete this project. When we first met her, my partner and I started measuring her to see how big or small we would make everything. We’ve met with Polly and her owners about every other week to try the wheelchair on her and then made required adjustments.

When we finished constructing the wheelchair, we had Polly try it on and she was able to walk down a hallway in my school. I was so happy that my design worked, and that Polly could walk again!

We did add a few more PVC pipes to help her hold up her weight with her front legs, since she hasn’t used her front legs to hold up all of her weight in a while. She will hopefully be able to walk around a lot more, now that she has her new wheelchair.

I’ve really enjoyed working on this project. When my teacher, Mr. Glynn, came to me and asked me if I wanted to work on helping Polly, I accepted. Any opportunity to help someone out, especially animals, I would gladly take. The smile on her little face was so fulfilling, and I realized how much I had helped her and her owners. 

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.