Snowplows are a welcomed sight during winter months in Central Ohio, but this year they might even bring a smile when drivers see how local students have used their creativity to adorn them with colorful paintings. The sixth grade team at Walnut Springs Middle School – all 110 of them, known as the HAWS Paws – have been working for several weeks on the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Paint the Plow program.
This ambitious undertaking is the culmination of a Project Based Learning activity designed, in part, by Otterbein University student teacher Tessa Smith. It began with a visit from an ODOT sign engineer instructing students about qualities of a good sign. The youngsters then created designs, based on ODOT initiatives. Classmates narrowed down finalists and the ODOT engineer chose the winning designs to be painted on the plows. Pupils then calculated the amount of paint needed (by using area then estimating percent of project for each color), found the enlargement ratio needed to maximize the plow canvas, and figured out how big to make their portion of the design on the plow. On October 9, they painted! And the results are spectacular.