John Gregg Elementary students are gaining enrichment by taking part in activities which help them think outside the box.
About 33 pupils in grades 3-6 take part in 21st Century Learning at the school and complete Project Lead the Way activities that utilize a STEM-based curriculum to expand their minds. According to the PLTW website, programs help develop skills in problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration and communication and are used both in and outside of school and for the rest of their lives.
Teachers Brooke Barker and Kelly Dopp head the program and selected pupils have performed well on Terra Nova tests completed in the second and fifth grades. Students recently led presentations before the Edison Local school board and the Local Professional Development Committee (LPDC) at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center in April and shared activities they’ve conducted since the fall.
“Fifth-and sixth-graders studied energy collisions and made cars out of VEX IQ kits,” Barker explained. “They had to come up with a passenger restraint to protect an egg. The third- and fourth-graders did one on life cycles and survival of bees and bee habitats. Local beekeeper John Grafton spoke and took them through the process. They then had to build a bee habitat.”
All of the students completed kindness projects around Christmas with third- and fourth-graders building birdfeeders with recycled materials; fifth-graders reading the story “Snowmen at Night” and making puppets for a show with preschoolers; and sixth-graders crafting gnomes and writing holiday letters. Upper grades also took part in a wax museum during the school art show in March with fifth-graders discussing explorers and sixth-graders acting as people from an ancient world.
“They built backdrops, learned facts and gave a one-to-two-minute speech,” Barker added, saying third-and fourth-grade pupils respectively focused on U.S. Presidents and famous Ohioans with pop bottle biographies.
Each week, kids also hold Fun Fridays and play thinking games with snap conduits and four-person chess matches. Barker said the goal is for students to exercise their minds.
“The purpose of enrichments is to give kids who score higher in creative thinking, reading, math and science a chance to extend their knowledge outside the box and outside the norm of a regular curriculum,” she added. “It’s project-based learning.”