Fifth-graders learn math through home-building
Students in Gail Arnold's fifth grade accelerated class at Manzanita Elementary School are being challenged with a project that injects geometry, writing and vocabulary into the daily curriculum.
"We're building quarter-inch scale models of houses designed by the students with instruction from Al Snyder," Arnold said. "It's a project he did with his own students for many years and he has come in to share with us."
Arnold has 23 students, including Isabella Goldberg and Kyla Richhart.
"Building the walls and coming up with ideas," Isabella said when asked what she finds most challenging about the project.
"Getting everything to scale," Kyla said when asked what she finds most difficult.
Snyder taught sixth grade at Manzanita and retired in 2006 after 31 years at the school. He instructed his gifted students in an annual project called "Where We Live," in which they built homes to scale.
He began working with Arnold's class on Feb. 19, investing about one hour per school day. Materials being used include balsa wood and tag board paper.
Students work in pairs.
Projects are to be completed for judging May 7 by community members in the construction and interior design fields, one day before they go on display at a school open house.
Snyder said seven recognition awards would be made. They include "Best Overall," plus first, second and third place for interior and exterior design.
"Once the kids get started and get the mechanics down they become confident and come up with their own design ideas," Snyder said.
Arnold said the project is an interdisciplinary unit that involves math and writing.
"They took the projects home on spring break to work on interiors like kitchen cabinets and fireplaces," Arnold said.
Students are to work on roofs for their models the next two weeks prior to AIMS testing the week of April 7, when projects will be put on hold.