THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
< Back to front page Text size +

Framingham resident creates toy for elephants in New Bedford zoo

Posted by Laura Gomez  May 17, 2013 03:55 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Best1.jpg
Massachusetts College of Art & Design for Boston.com
Elephant Ruth uses the toy designed by Framingham resident Sophie Steck. The "Drum Roll" includes pipes in a xylophone format through which elephants can either use a tool to bang on the pipes to make repeated sounds (such as a stick), or they can rub an object along the length of the “xylophone” to create music.

Framingham resident Sophie Steck designed a Drum Roll toy for two elephants at the Buttonwood Zoo in New Bedford as part of an interdisciplinary elective class for students of Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston.

The class, Toys for Elephants, presents a challenge to art students to design a toy that will keep elephants in captivity cognitively and physically stimulated.

Students work closely with Zookeeper Bill Sampson and place themselves in the elephants’ environment to grasp the challenge of creating objects that are sturdy enough and complex enough for the powerful yet curious and intelligent animals, according to a press release.

Steck came up with the Drum Roll idea after seeing a video of the Buttonwood Zoo elephants tapping on a dumpster near their enclosure, keeping a steady beat. She used pipes in a xylophone format for the elephants to engage and create music.

The Toys for Elephants program is now in its third year at MassArt, in collaboration with non-profit organization Handshouse Studio.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article