By: Rebecca Brackin
When thinking about difficult times I have had in PLTW, a few things come to mind. However, two specific events stick out- my maker project, which was making bath bombs, and making a model prosthetic leg earlier in the year. I decided to write about the prosthetic leg, only because I feel I have more to say about it.
Earlier in the year, my group was looking at the next module we should complete. We decided we wanted to do something involving the biomedical pathway. The next module that was available for us in that section was to create a prosthetic leg. It didn’t have to be anything super fancy- we weren’t actually creating it for someone to use. Nevertheless, it seemed like a difficult task given the materials we had.
In this module, we had to find materials around the makerspace to use on our prosthetic leg. We found big wooden poles, big yogurt tubs, bungee cord, styrofoam, and a few other things. We had a fairly good idea of what we wanted to do, so we started making our design. Let’s just say it was easier said than done.
Our module was turning into a disaster. Our general structure was ok, but we were having a lot of trouble attaching it to someone and making them able to walk with it. I was ready to give up. It was very difficult, and no matter how many times we tried, we just couldn’t get it right. I wasn’t really sure what to do. I knew that we had to complete the module, and no matter how much I wanted to give up, I wanted to at least keep trying to fix the prosthetic leg. So that’s what we did. My group and I put extra work into the module. We had a lot of difficulty overcoming many of the challenges, but eventually, we did it. We were having trouble attaching it to the person modeling the leg, so we figured out a more efficient way. We took the bungee cord and put it through the wooden pole (by drilling a hole), and used paper clips, glue, and tape to keep it from falling apart. We attached the leg to my skirt using our bungee cord innovation, and it attached properly like we had hoped. Another obstacle was keeping the leg steadier and easier to walk in, so we added extra poles (which were skinnier than the main pole) to support it better. We finished the prosthetic leg. It wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t walk very well in it, and it wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but I was proud that my group and I could still finish it, regardless of the challenges.