The main aim of our project was to help reduce stress and to increase the happiness of participants through the use of a comforting pencil case. We wanted to design a tool that would be easy to use, and make it easier to do school work while also staying calm and happy. We decided to measure the mood and stress levels of participants both before and after using the pencil case, to see how this affected them. We measured this using an online questionnaire. Pupils in S1-S6 were invited to participate.
We decided we wanted to design a pencil case to promote wellbeing. We brainstormed different ideas for the name of the pencil case and asked a focus group of pupils for their opinions. In the end, we decided on ‘Soothe Case’ as the name as this was most popular. We also spent time thinking about the design of the pencil case and whether to have a pencil tin or a softer case. In the end we thought a softer case would be more comforting. Inside the case we wanted to include an item for each sense (e.g. a scented eraser, a fidget toy/stress ball and a glittery, colourful pen). We decided to make two different pencil cases with different images so that participants could choose which one they liked best. This made it more personal.
One of our main barriers was the price of the pencil cases. Originally they were going to be too much so for a while we pursued the idea of a “Pencil Tin” instead of a case. In the end we decided to get back to the soft case as we decided it would be more effective at relieving stress and increasing happiness than a tin. We managed to find a voucher code so we got 40% off our cases, so in the end we could order more. Another idea we had was that everyone could choose the images on their case, in the end this was too impractical so we came to a compromise and added a blank photo keyring which could be personalised, to the items in the case. We also designed two cases so people could choose the images they liked best.
Recruitment was done through the school through a message in the pupil bulletin and the parent email. It was open for any pupil from S1 - S6 so anyone could take part. Because we were asking about mood and feelings we asked parents to fill out a consent form to make sure it was alright. For collecting our data we decided ask pupils to complete a questionnaire about their mood over the last 2 weeks, before they collected the pencil case. This would act as our baseline for the experiment. We would then give them the soothe case and after a further 2 weeks ask then to complete a second questionnaire, almost identical to the first, to see if the case has had a positive impact.