MSD of Lawrence Township teacher wins annual design challenge


MSD of Lawrence Township teacher Ann Clough of Forest Glen Elementary School has won the 2024 Excellence Design Challenge, sponsored by the Lawrence Township School  Foundation.

According to an announcement from the district, the Design Challenge financially rewards district staff members for innovative ideas that can meaningfully impact the organization through efficiency,  effectiveness and/or measurable improvements.

Clough’s winning proposal, titled Revolutionizing Resources: Transforming Plastic Waste into 3D Printing Filament, was identified by district leadership as best affecting efficiency, effectiveness and improved outcomes. The initiative introduced students to the concept of automation with a focus on  sustainability and recycling, while supporting the material needs of the 14 Makerspace programs within MSDLT.

The goals of the initiative are to:

  • Introduce students to emerging technologies like 3D printing, preparing them for future careers in STEM fields
  • Encourage students to explore and experiment with design concepts, empowering them to becomes innovators and creators
  • Enhance students’ STEM skills — including problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration — through engaging 3D printing projects
  • Educate students about the importance of recycling and sustainable practices by demonstrating the transformation of plastic waste into a valuable resource

The expected outcomes are:

  • Students will develop essential STEM skills including design thinking, problem-solving and digital literacy through practical application
  • Students will gain a deeper understanding of sustainability issues and the importance of recycling in reducing plastic waste.
  • The hands-on nature of the project will foster enthusiasm and engagement among students, enhancing their overall learning experience

“I am proud to celebrate the innovation of the challenge winner and finalists and am grateful to the Foundation for their ongoing supportive role with this program,” Superintendent Shawn  Smith stated. “Ms. Clough represents the innovative thinking taking place throughout the district, supporting both the broadening of our graduation pathways as well as our Strategic Plan.”

Clough won a $20,000 personal prize and her project will be implemented during the 2024-2025 school year, according to the district.