PINEHURST — As the school year wrapped up, the third grade classes at Pinehurst Elementary participated in an educational and disastrous lesson.
Unlike previous years, when students learned of various weather patterns in different areas of the world, the PES third grade teachers decided to take a more hands-on approach and changed the focus from simply weather to natural disasters.
PES teacher Torrie Stutzke was one of the teachers involved, and from her vantage point the lesson was a success.
“It was one of the coolest experiences I've had as a teacher,” Stutzke said. “We broke from the traditional way of teaching it and after a short introduction of all the different types of natural disasters, our kids picked one of their own and hit the ground running.”
The students could do the project individually or as a team, but they all were tasked with hitting various points throughout their research and then having a presentation at their science exposition.
“The level of creativity in their projects was outstanding,” Stutzke said. “They were so proud of their work, as was I. Not a day went by as we were working that they weren’t pulling me in all directions trying to show me their masterpieces.”
One of the most valuable aspects of the project was how it required students to go home and get their parents and families involved.
“The awesome part of the project was it also involved parents in their learning. The kids were excited about their work and would go home and ask parents for their help with their creations,” Stutzke said. “Of course it wasn't all fun and games. It was hard work and the kids pushed through their mistakes and their frustrations, and ended up being able to invite people into show off their hard work.”
From there, each project was set up in the gym for other classes to come through and learn from their schoolmates.
The level of quality in these presentations wasn’t just talked about by the teachers; even PES principal Mike Groves was taken aback by how innovative some of the projects were.
“The kids did such a great job getting these projects together,” Groves said. “As I was walking around, I was pretty surprised at the level of detail and effort that was put into them. There were some pretty awesome projects for folks to look at.”