Manzanita students build robots for Inventors' Day
An opportunity to be creative
KINGMAN - For the last two weeks, first-graders at Manzanita Elementary got to transform their homes into workshops.
They were hard at work building robots for Inventors' Day on Friday in the gymnasium.
"It began as a small language arts activity using a story my class was reading and has evolved into an event that crosses over all curricular lines," first-grade teacher Sandra McFarland said. "We now have students and parents enter our classes on the first day of school wanting to know if we are going to be making robots this year."
What started out an exercise in her own classroom three years ago for McFarland has become a school-wide activity for first-graders.
"Robot week makes learning extremely fun," first-grade teacher Jamie Humphreys. "It unites families as they learn and create together. I love it when the families get involved."
The parents are encouraged to help their children build the robots and the accompanying report.
Treven Gravell, one of Humphreys' students, created one robot and his father created another.
"It's funny because the parents get excited as much as the kids," McFarland said.
Leading up to Inventors' Day, the students learned about the history of inventions and their significance in everyday life. They also learned about famous inventors from Benjamin Franklin to George Washington Carver to Virginia Apgar.
McFarland said she tells her students they have something in common with the famous minds.
"All of these inventors were once your age and filled with great ideas and creativity," McFarland said. "They simply remembered to always work hard and never give up. One day, future students might be learning about you."
Each teacher makes the learning process interactive by letting the students vote on an invention they'd like to learn about and researching it together, first-grade teacher Jeanne Cruz said.
When the first-graders presented their inventions on Friday, they got to share their knowledge of scientific concepts ranging from force to motion.
"It's really is a sight to see," Principal Jeri Wolsey said.
The students will spend this week measuring, weighing and comparing the robots for mathematics.
Then the students will take their creations home.
"It has always been our goal to teach the standards while encouraging our students to think outside of the box," McFarland said. "In this case, we've taken the box, wrapped it in foil, and hopefully, created an event that will be remembered for a long time."