Hawthorn Fifth-Graders Reach Out To Community With IB Projects
Jul 06, 2016 10:32AM
By Julie Slama
Hawthorn students review the presentations of fifth-graders who showed their projects from International Baccalaureate’s primary years program. — Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Longer recesses, cleaning oil spills, stopping polluting the Jordan River, getting fit are just some of the topics that Hawthorn Academy fifth-graders explored during their culmination of their primary years program of the International Baccalaureate. They presented their projects May 24.
Hawthorn fifth-grade teacher Lacey Melville said that student teams had six weeks to pick an issue to research under the umbrella topics of school and literacy, environment, mental health and human relationships. The students then needed to tie their action plan into one of the four IB principles and write four of them in reflective papers.
“We wanted students to think outside of themselves and connect to people and the world to make a difference,” she said. “It’s been great watching these kids get excited about what they can do. It’s our first year doing this and all their ideas have been amazing.”
The primary years program combines the knowledge, concepts, skills and action for students from age three to 12 to be involved in an engaging learning that extends to their community and world. It is part of the International Baccalaureate program, which is recognized worldwide.
Three girls called to lengthen their recess by five to 15 minutes after realizing group member Bella Salerno had a longer one at a former school.
“We’re not as quiet as kids in other grades,” teammate Sophie Melo said. “We need time to socialize and teachers use the time to correct papers. This will help us get our energy out and we know with more exercise, students can focus better.”
First, they surveyed 65 of their fifth-grade classmates and learned 50 students wanted a longer recess. Then, they researched online and discovered a school in Texas tracked improved classroom behavior to a longer recess. Next, they approached their director.
“We learned it wasn’t up to him, but instead the school’s governing board,” Bella said, adding that the group would like to talk to them at their next meeting.
Sophie explained the symbolism of their game which allowed classmates, families and friends to try to knock over pins with balls in three seconds.
“That’s how long our recess seems so we’re trying to show we don’t have enough time to do what all we’d like to in the time allotted now,” she said.
Nearby, two girls said how Jordan River, which is home to many plants and animals, gets polluted from mining waste to everyday people allowing trash and sewage to enter the area.
The girls asked how trash affects the river and animals, how the water becomes polluted and what can people do to prevent this contamination.
“We rode our bikes to the trail by Riverton Golf Course and spent three hours picking up two garbage bags of trash,” Isabelle Milner said. “We put our project into action by first, getting there without polluting the air, then by picking up waste that is harmful to the environment. We know that by doing even little things like this, we can make the Jordan River trail a better place.”
At another table, Aidan White, Aiden Adair, Rylan Eckhardt and Bella Lynch, who are involved in volleyball, basketball, soccer, dance or football, decided to launch their “Overcoming Obesity” campaign.
“The best way to overcome obesity is through sports and health eating,” Aiden Adair said. “The obesity problem in the world right now scares me. So many kids are out of breath when they’re on the playground. They can only run about 50 yards and want a ride if it’s three blocks away. But if you’re doing sports, you’re having fun, making friends and getting in better shape.”
The group suggested three ways to stay in shape: playing sports, eating healthy and keeping track of it; and keeping up with healthy habits by recording that on a log they created. The group also had daily workout schedules and a power-point presentation along with their tri-fold and examples of balls.
“Doing it with a friends is more fun, plus you tend to be more committed to workouts,” Bella said.
Nearby, Zachary Zacharias and Nate Cruz were teaching about the harmful affects oil can have when spilled in rivers, lakes and oceans.
“It becomes a trap and can kill animals and their habitats and can take years to recover,” said Nate, who hopes to be a marine biologist. “We are all responsible for our environment and people need to know the true harm of oil spilling and how it pollutes the water and harms the animals.”
Zachary added they learned, “One pound can kill hundreds of fish.”
So the boys put their plan to action and asked for donations to help clean oil that has harmed area waterways.
Melville said it was good to see the connections students made.
“They became passionate about their work and got others involved, making that connection to improving their communities,” she said.