SERF Student Grant Summaries, Fall 2019
At Curtis, three students submitted grants for a portable Gaga Ball Pit to add a fun, engaging, and inclusive option to students’ outdoor recess and indoor P.E. time. Gaga is a fast paced, high energy social activity played in an octagonal pit. Considered a kinder version of dodge ball, the game is played with a soft foam ball, and combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping, while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees. Players need to keep moving to avoid getting hit by the ball. The games move quickly…after a few short minutes, action heats up with a second ball, sure to get even the quickest players out within minutes. Once the game ends, everyone is back in for the next round. Quite addictive, kids can’t wait to get back in the pit, and the more the merrier! The applicants all agreed that motivating students to be active during recess time will benefit their focus back in the classrooms.
Look out – robots are coming to Haynes! A proposal for app-enabled robots was approved with the goal of fostering creativity through discovery, play, and to add to students’ foundation for computer science skills. The Sphere Mini Education kit includes 16 clear robotic balls with gyroscopes, accelerometers, and LED lights, as well as bumpers, mini traffic cones, bowling pins, construction sets, and activity cards to spark students’ engagement and imaginations as they practice and learn to control the bots with their own commands. The kit will be accessible to all classes at Haynes.
At Loring, an application for (3) 3D printers was approved and will complement the school’s brand new Learning Studio. With the 3D printers, all students at Loring will have access to opportunities such as designing and creating interactive maps, creating mock-ups of buildings and structures, creating new musical instruments or new tools, sculpting animal representations to study their adaptations, making reusable signs for the school, and so much more. With students being the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs, the new 3D printers can support enriching learning experiences with the curriculum while also giving young students early exposure to an advanced tool that will one day be an integral part of their school and their work.
“Libraries of Things” are popping up all around the world, and one is coming to Nixon soon! One young applicant suggested a Library of Things for Nixon as a way to encourage learning – “to introduce kids to something they’ve never done before or have always wanted to try but didn’t have the tools.” Nixon’s Library of Things provides objects to explore new areas of interest and learn new skills. Among the objects to check out you might find a ukulele, a microscope, a telescope, a drum pad and sticks, a slackline kit, a polaroid camera, a kids’ construction toolset, snowshoes, and so much more.
At Noyes, there will be some very busy students coordinating a “Know Your School Scavenger Hunt” for all the kids to play! The in-house, customized scavenger hunt will give practice to the youngest students in map-reading and team building skills as they explore all kinds of areas in and around their own school. They will gain familiarity with the space and the people within. Students in the middle grades will gain practice in using compasses as they follow orienteering clues, and strengthen their spatial skills as they make their own maps for others to use. Older students will use research to solve riddles about the school’s history and influential people who shaped what Noyes is today and the spaces within it. Though the skills that students will gain are varied by grade level, the students at Notes will no doubt gain a shared understanding of and appreciation for the special place they call school.