Northside first-grade class partners with WCHS on projects
Woodford County High School sophomore Brennan Clark was happily providing guidance - and a little help - to Lyndon Frances-Coleman and Tristan Garten when the first-graders were assembling their wooden racecars at WCHS last Friday. By combining Lyndon and Tristan's ideas, Brennan helped them design, create and then assemble a dinosaur car and a Pokémon car. "It means they're trying to open their minds to the creative world," said Brennan of the hands-on projects. Lyndon, Tristan and other first-graders in Amy Gordon's class at Northside Elementary got this firsthand experience in designing racecars, birdhouses, and a variety of other projects, with assistance from students in Robert Greene's introduction to manufacturing class. By collaborating with high school students on their projects, Gordon's students learned how to work with an older partner while sharing their ideas in a high school shop classroom. "It has motivated them to be more into the project, maybe take it a little more serious as far as their designs and what they're going to actually build," said Gordon. "And I really think that it has opened their eyes to know that when they can think of an idea they can actually turn it into . something that they're going to use." On two previous visits to WCHS, Gordon's second-graders were partnered with high school students and then given an opportunity to explore three different ideas before choosing one drawing as their project design. The high school students created 3D models of the projects, which were then reviewed and revised by the second-graders. "Just to give these kids that experience to work with one another and to see what they have created together - it's remarkable," said Gordon. Additionally, this collaboration reinforces what her students are learning in terms of how everything has a structure and a function, which are Next Generation Science Standards. For WCHS students in Greene's engineering design class, this collaboration with Northside Elementary was an opportunity to also develop customer service skills. His students had to determine the "wants and needs" of their customers. They then used rough drawings created by the second-graders to develop technical drawings for individual pieces that were assembled into finished products. "This is my first experience dealing with this type of interaction, and it's been fun to be honest," said WCHS junior Justin Geilear. Being able to work with an actual customer - in his case, Ashton Fister - and determining what she wanted in her birdhouse design was a worthwhile experience for Justin, 16. Second-grader William Mitchell said he was excited about being able to assemble a penguin house with high school partner Taylor Biggs, who shares his interest in penguins and designed a wooden house that was "very close" to what he imagined. "I like working with another student," said William, "because they know what they're doing and can teach us stuff." Working alongside older students has motivated William and the other first-graders to open themselves up to new ideas, according to mom Lauren Mitchell. "They have really enjoyed this and been really excited to do something different and learn something new," she said. Mitchell pointed out that the older students were "very willing" to listen to their younger partners and helped them design "what they want" in their projects. Greene said some of his intro to manufacturing students will continue their education next school year in a computer-integrated manufacturing class. And because of what they learned during this year's collaboration with Northside Elementary, he said, "I hope this is an every-year event." "We can all learn from each other," said Gordon.