It’s a language arts class like no other.
It may have garnered moans and groans from the class when the outline was given, but from the excitement and enthusiasm visitors experienced when entering the UPS Junior Genius showcase was far from those moments.
In its fifth year running, the program initiated by principal Doug English, has garnered even more attention. That’s because kids are taking this project seriously.
In the outline, students are told they will need to set up a display, write a poem on their topic, visit a location or professional related to their topic, design a game for visitors to be part of their interaction, write a letter to a professional on their topic, use movie maker, make a PowerPoint presentation, demonstrate their proof of learning in the outcome, build relationships with professionals, community members and their parents, do peer evaluations, present their research publicly in this forum and much more. Not your typical Grade 6 language arts class. But in the five-month span of research, development and presentation set up and showcase, these students have encompassed all of these learning tools, and they had fun doing it.
Kennedy Mielke learned how to say several sentences in Italian when she researched design. Lauren Dueck recreated the sinking Titanic scene in 3-D. Cyane Sperle aptly displayed and presented horse vaulting. Russell Aguinaldo built a scale model of the Good Year blimp to accompany his research and presentation. Madison Gilbert proudly displayed a model stage including Telemiracle Teddy himself, as she recounted her passion for Telmiracle. And all visitors felt the enthusiasm of Jared Risling’s presentation of his scale, working model of the world’s biggest machine he described as an $80 billion mining machine used by RWE power in Germany.
You don’t get this kind of excitement from spelling tests, reading assignments, or book reports. You get this kind of excitement when the students are given a concept they can work on independently as well as with their parents, in an area they are passionate about, and a project they can reveal the value of their research to the inquiring visitors who attend the Junior Genuis showcase.