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The Education team at Thomasville Center for the Arts recently participated in Innovation Day held at Southern Regional Technical Center. Innovation Day is a culminating event filled with inventions from students ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade. The Center was asked to participate in providing a STEM based learning station – The Rigamajig was the perfect fit. 

The Rigama…what? The Rigamajig was designed in 2011 by Cas Holman with collaboration from educators, students and woodworkers. It reflects the designer’s dedication to creating meaningful play using simple and useful parts. There are no real rules with the Jig. Its purpose is to allow opportunities for children to explore the pieces and parts, work through problems from design challenges to engineering opportunities and reflect on the process. According to the Rigamajig website, Rigamajig is designed to “spark imagination, creativity, innovation, discovery, collaboration, and problem-solving skills through hands-on, experiential, and open-ended play. With no instructions or right-and-wrong answers, children are free to imagine what to make, and to figure out how to make it!” 

Eighty fourth grade Cross Creek Elementary students at Innovation Day were no exception. Students jumped right in. They were given a set of nuts, bolts, wooden boards, rope, ball and a set of prompts. For forty five minutes, each team of five students worked together to create a device that answered some or all of the prompts–something that can move, lift, carry or hold something. The end result was truly inspiring. When asked what their creation was, many answered that it solved a problem for a person with physical disabilities – a wheelchair was a popular answer. At the end of their experience, students were asked to reflect on their work or asked what they would change. Most answered that they would love to have more materials to work with. The Rigamajig accomplished its purpose and certainly left students with wanting more. 

The Rigamajig is available for school visits and will make appearances during Second Saturday programming at the Center.