Equipped with a mixed bag of small recyclables third graders in the classroom of teacher Kathy Moore at Vilonia Elementary School were given the assignment, this week, to build a strong house.
Students have been studying climate change and extreme types of weather. An ending project, Mrs. Moore said, the construction project is not only allowing them to learn more about the effects of tornados, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis but it is also encouraging team work and promoting self-learning.
Divided into small groups, each has access to tape, rulers, scissors and staplers as well as pipe cleaners, red Solo cups, pieces of plastic, Popsicle sticks and various other odds and ends. Prior to beginning, Mrs. Moore gave instructions to each group to discuss, draw out a plan, adjust and refine as well as pause and reflect. When the house is complete, she told students, they need to test their structure before turning in their finished work.
“Remember, I’m going to get out the fan and test it with wind,” Moore said, as she walked around the room. “I will put water in a pan and test it for flooding.
Students talked while they worked. One student referred to the strong winds of Hurricane Matthew. Moore said Matthew’s timing provided a great teaching opportunity.
About 15-minutes into the work, Mrs. Moore told students she had been hearing some “great conversations.”
“You need to think what you can do to protect your house,” she encouraged. On the other side of the room, some girls could be seen following Mrs. Moore’s instructions. They were blowing on their houses and shaking a desk to test for an earthquake. One of the girls told her peers, “It’s okay if it moves, it just can’t fall.”
Students were anticipated to be working on their projects for several days.