An exciting morning!
Ninth grade Nick Savasatano met with his clients on the carpet in Mrs. Walsh’s classroom. They gave him a tour of the project; a low-ceilinged structure built out of various-sized wooden blocks. The three of them placed their heads on the floor to get a dog's-eye view of the space.
“We need a roof to keep the dog dry,” one of the boys explained.
Nick got out his ruler and began to measure the structure. Within minutes, the boys were using the ruler, too.
High Schoolers Help Kindergarteners Build a Better Doghouse
STREAM: Integrating Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Art, and Math
Kindergarten classes across Katonah-Lewisboro School District were filled with similar scenes that morning. Groups of two and three six-year-olds watched high school students in Steven Zoeller's Design and Draw for Production class measure and sketch doghouses made of Lincoln Logs, building blocks, or Legos. Each team of kindergarteners also told their high school buddy if they wanted a gable, flat, or shed-style roof—and why.
The high school students will model each doghouse in AutoCAD, then build it in foam core over the next two weeks and deliver it to the elementary school classes. The kindergartners will construct a roof that will keep their dog dry based on their tests of aluminum foil, tissue paper, card stock, and felt as possible materials.
"This experience takes project-based learning to the next level—to what I call product-based learning,” said Zoeller. "Students use their skills and knowledge to meet their customer's needs."
Collaboration in Action
A Win-Win Relationship
"The exchange of smiles!"
"It was so wonderful to listen to the high school students and kindergarten students interact," said Amy Hoaglund, kindergarten teacher at Meadow Pond Elementary. "When you look at the project in action, see the exchange of smiles, and listen to the conversation about design, weather, and of course, dogs, you can't help but smile knowing that everyone in the room has benefited and/or taken away something positive from this experience."
"My students were more than excited to meet the older students, some being KES alumni," said Andrea McGrath, kindergarten teacher at Katonah Elementary. “The room was truly full of excitement as they shared their ideas with their high school engineers. What great role models!”
"Throughout this experience, students work collaboratively to problem solve, investigate, and generate possible solutions," said Ms. Walsh. "It is an intellectually engaging, relevant, and active learning experience for all students involved."