Fifth-graders use technology to help literary characters perservere

Colonial School District  |  Posted on

Students worked together to create prototypes of their inventions using technology.

At some point in almost any piece of literature, characters face an obstacle or problem. For fifth graders at Colonial Elementary School, this challenge is a topic they’ve often discussed in small groups known as literature circles. However, for the culminating project in their Perseverance Unit, the children instead pulled together in their small groups to help the characters work through their struggles — by making inventions. Noah Gamble-Steinitz and the other students on his team used a bottle, marbles and the electronics to help characters from the book, “The Upstairs Room.” “We’re making an alarm system so Annie and Sini would know when the Germans were coming, because the Nazis were invading their town,” said Noah. “It makes us get into the story more and really understand what situation they’re in.” The groups made prototypes using found objects, computer control devices called Makey Makey, as well as power sources, connectors, buzzers, lights and fans from kits made by littleBits. Using technology to help literature characters solve problems is an example of how the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) culture permeates all subjects areas in the Colonial School District. Students create prototypes and find solutions using technology like an engineer, while gaining a deeper understanding of what they read for their English Language Arts class.