Teachers really are the real MacGyvers!

The best teacher-created solutions we have seen this year!

At Copernicus, we want our products to solve real problems in the classroom and make teaching a little bit easier. However, our product designers are not teachers, so how do we ensure this? We spend a lot of time in schools getting inspired by teachers- our modern-day MacGyvers*!

Looking for new ideas, and learning about how teachers and students use our products are some of the best parts of our jobs! We see so many creative solutions that teachers envision and design for their own spaces.

We visit schools right here in Arthur, Ontario, throughout the USA, and we have even been to classrooms in Europe! These visits allow us to gain new product ideas and learn how products are used in classrooms so that we can make product improvements, test prototypes, and tweak designs. That's what we mean when we say our products are 'Real Classroom Ready'.

This year, we saw so many great solutions. We wanted to share some of our favorite things with you all and hope they spark new ideas for you and your space (like they did for us).

Want us to visit your school? 

We'd love to meet you and see your space! Reach out to us via email

Our favorite teacher-designed solutions

Trash and Treasure Trays

Trash and Treasure Trays Jessica MeachamIn this STEM lab, Jessica created an ingenious way to have kids help out with and learn about clean up and reuse.  She developed these Trash and Treasure Trays. At the end of the class, students clean up and place items they are unsure of on these trays – guessing if they should be trash or treasure. Then Jessica reviews the items with her students, and they either learn where they belong or discuss why something is not trash and might be reused or repurposed! 

WHERE SEEN: Southern Door Elementary School, Brussels, WI; Southern Door County School District (Teacher: Jessica Meacham)


Built-in Sensory Wall

Outdoor Sensory Wall St. Joseph;s School FergusThis built-in sensory wall lets kindergarten kids experience different textures and explore a variety of mechanisms and concepts. Panels of artificial grass, tile, and flexible plastic let young learners explore different textures and shapes. Students can build vocabulary by sharing their observations with each other. The mechanism walls show simple moving components and the different movements involved in their function. Students can also build dexterity when interacting with the mechanisms. 


WHERE SEEN: St. Joseph's School, Fergus, ON; Wellington Catholic School Board
 


Cardboard Storage and Sorting Solution



In a STEM space, there are so many materials to store! I love this creative solution to use a leftover TV carton to store large sheets and pieces of cardboard that students can access to use in their creations! This is a simple way to showcase reuse approaches, which is a great learning opportunity. Plus, it saves the school from purchasing a storage solution too!
 

WHERE SEEN: Southern Door Elementary School, Brussels, WI; Southern Door County School District (Teacher: Jessica Meacham)


Ping-Pong Robot Race 

Ping-Pong Robot RaceIn this exercise, students were challenged to race a robot from the start to finish line, while carrying a ping-pong ball. Students had to build a means for carrying or moving their ball, and the solutions they designed were very innovative. What a fun activity that challenged students to think outside of the box and problem-solve using found materials. 


WHERE SEEN: Southern Door Elementary School, Brussels, WI; Southern Door County School District (Teacher: Jessica Meacham)


Little Houses 

Little Houses A fun use for the back side of a shelf: little houses! These little house frames were attached to the plywood on the back of the shelving unit. It was open-ended, and the kids could use them as shelves, houses for toy figures, or other creative play. There are multiple houses for three to five kids to play together and carry on whatever activity they have chosen. The houses are attached at different heights, which allows the kids to play when standing or sitting.

 

WHERE SEEN: Westwood Public School, Guelph, ON; Upper Grand District School Board (Teacher: Melissa Kooiman)


Rolph Road's Play Survey

Educator Tony connected data collection and the math curriculum to engage students in a project to answer what was happening in their school and ask questions about what play looks like on the playground. Students collected data, surveyed, built models, and then worked in ArcGIS to create reports and ad graphs of their findings. It was an amazing experience for the kids to be involved in a real-world project related to their own environment. This activity and its lessons resonated with them for longer because of its personal connection.  

 

WHERE SEEN: Rolph Road Elementary School, Toronto, ON, Toronto District School Board (Teacher: Tony Cushman)


Repurposed AV Cart

Repurposed AV CartThis savvy teacher got creative by repurposing an old AV cart. With the simple addition of affordable bamboo plate racks glued right onto the cart shelves, she made a custom device management cart. I liked this idea because it used an underutilized item that the school already had. The built-in electrical features make this cart well-suited to storing and changing devices. The open format makes access to those devices quick and easy for students. There is even space for extra storage on the bottom shelf. 


WHERE SEEN: Taylor Evans Public School, Guelph, ON; Upper Grand District School Board


Wooden Crayon Holder

Wooden Crayon holder In this school, the middle school kids make simple products for the younger grades in their woodworking class! This example is a simple wooden crayon holder. I am sure it is really fulfilling for the students to make items that have a use and purpose in another classroom. 


WHERE SEEN: Random Lake Middle School, Random Lake, WI; Random Lake School District (Teacher: Susie Goneau)

 


Diversity Table

Diversity TableStudents in this school painted tiles that a parent used to create this table diversity table. This table showcases the school's values towards equality and diversity. 


WHERE SEEN: Hewitt's Creek Public School, Barrie, ON; Simcoe County District School Board


Copernicus products “in the wild”

Our team of designers also found some Copernicus products in use in the classroom. Here are their top picks:

3D Printer Cart Premium Model 

TD5001 3D Printer CartThis 3D Printer Cart Premium Model is an essential building tool for this Grade 6 classroom's STEM and robotics projects. The Really Big Tub stores in-progress student projects while the other storage tubs hold additional robotics tools and supplies. The Tech Tub provides a place to lock and store high-tech items, and they have used the slide-out tray to hold a toolbox. They have an assortment of filament stored in the top rack and have used the Tiny Tubs for other smaller supplies. 


WHERE SEEN: Academie Alexandre-Dumas, Scarborough, ON; Conseil Scolaire Viamonde

 


Self-regulation Classroom Cruiser


I love seeing students hop on the Self-regulation Classroom Cruiser with their workbooks or Chromebooks to help them solve a tricky problem. Kids seem to know and self-select when they need to get some extra energy out or work through something. I love that our bike can make it easy for them to do so without leaving the class or feeling singled out. 

 

WHERE SEEN: Random Lake Middle School, Random Lake, WI; Random Lake School District (Teacher: Susie Goneau)


Classroom Message Center (Royal Reading Writing Center)

RC105 Royal Reading Writing CenterThis Copernicus Royal Reading and Writing Center is used as a classroom messaging center. On the board each day is the daily agenda. This is an effective way for Mrs. Hampton to communicate with her students, and for them to know what to expect each day. In addition to the messaging center, Mrs. Hampton also uses this easel for anchor charts.

 

WHERE SEEN: Carrville Mills Elementary School, Thornhill, ON; York Region District School Board (Teacher: Sinthuja Hampton)

 

 

 

 

 


Book Browser Cart for Lego Mark Duke

Lego Cart (Book Browser Cart)

Our Book Browser Cart makes for a perfect Lego storage cart. The cart can be easily moved to an area for an activity, and then stored away when finished. Its bins allow for organization in a variety of ways – by color, block type, or group. It also makes clean-up easy and allows for smaller bins of items to be handed out to groups as needed.

WHERE SEEN: Baltimore Public School, Baltimore, ON; Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (Teacher: Mark Duke)
 


Tech Tub Corner

Tech Tub2 corner R H McGregor Toronto District School BoardThis class had six Tech Tubs placed on milk crates. They do not lock the Tech Tubs, and when it comes to device management, the kids are the ones who manage their own devices. The teacher loves that the Tech Tubs are stored in one area, and every device has a number on it. The students can easily place their devices in the Tech Tub for charging at the end of the day. Once Tech Tubs are set up, they are ready to go. When asked, the students said that they find it easy to remove their devices and return them for charging. 


WHERE SEEN: R H McGregor School, Toronto, ON; Toronto District School Board
 


 

Royal Inspiration Station Easel CopernicusInspiration Station

 

This teacher made use of every square inch on her Inspiration Station. I like to see our products in use and stand the test of time. It's something we see repeatably with our products, and it's a humbling thought someone's life is made a little bit easier because of our products.


WHERE SEEN: St. John Catholic Elementary School, Arthur, ON; Wellington Catholic District School Board
 


Working with Educators

At Copernicus, we consistently aim to connect the dots between what educators tell us they really need in the classroom and the development of purposeful, innovative, and affordable solutions. We work directly with educators to ensure everything we design is with real purpose. We welcome new ideas, creative solutions, and collaboration opportunities. We also love to give back to educators. Here are a few opportunities: 

 

We want to hear from you!

Do you have a creative solution that you designed yourself? Our design team would love to see it! Get in touch with us and show us your creativity!

Email us 

 

Join our Idea Lab

Our Product Development Team works with a group of educators across North America, to help uncover great ideas and turn them into great new products!

Idea Lab 

 

 

Teacher Thank You Program Copernicus

Educator Thank You Program

We see and hear stories of teachers going above and beyond to help their students thrive. We want to help by giving away $250 every month! 

Thank You Program 

 

*MacGyver is the protagonist from the 1985 TV series MacGyver, known for his portrayal of genius-level intellect, proficiency in languages, and superb engineering skills. Today the term is generally used to describe a person with excellent problem-solving skills. 

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