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Career fair shows students a range of vehicles
|Sgt. Arthur Dreher returns the salute of a student|
With sirens blaring and horns honking, the Sandshore career fair might have been one of the loudest in history. Occupations that use vehicles was the focus. Participation included community organizations and businesses representing a variety of fields such as law enforcement and agriculture:
The Mount Olive Police Department brought a police cruiser
The U.S. Army – a combat vehicle
Budd Lake Rescue Squad – an ambulance
The school district’s buildings and grounds department – a tractor and riding lawn mower
Mount Olive Township’s department of public works – a dump truck and a CAT excavator
Johnson Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-RAM in Budd Lake – a brand new Jeep
Highview Farms – a mini monster truck and a tractor
"The students were exposed to vehicles they see from their cars but they've never seen up close,” said guidance counselor Julie Kester, who coordinated the fair. “They loved the hands-on exposure to so many different careers and businesses.”
Particularly popular with students were the experiences of sitting in a brand new car, seeing the inside of an ambulance and chatting with the EMTs, and interacting with the army sergeants and sitting in an army vehicle. One of the men, Sgt. Arthur Dreher, has two daughters at Sandshore.
“The sergeants were amazing,” Mrs. Kester said. “And the students were so respectful and appreciative. The older kids talked about how thankful they were that the soldiers gave up so much to help them stay safe.”
Organizing the fair took approximately two months.
Said Mrs. Kester, “Everyone was so generous with their time and incredibly giving. They made the fair a great experience for the students.”
Writing historical fiction
|Click on the image to see an interactive colonial map done by Kaitlyn Liamero|
Tricia Mitchell's fifth-graders recently took what they had learned about Colonial America and crafted detailed stories set in that time period. The project was a fusion of language arts and social studies that reinforced knowledge and also allowed students to show off what they had learned in both subjects.
The regional areas of America’s 13 original colonies were incredibly different. Those differences transcended the obvious such as climate and natural resources. The countries of origin of the immigrants, their occupations, their cultures, and their belief systems all varied from region to region.
Mrs. Mitchell’s students immersed themselves in the lifestyles of the New England Colonies, Middle Colonies, and Southern Colonies, studying their differences and similarities. They looked at the types of jobs, schooling, religions, communities, and foods that would typically be found in each area. YouTube videos and information on Ducksters.com as well as other websites were the prime sources.
The students each chose one colonial region to research in detail. They found maps of colonial communities on the internet that corresponded to their regions of interest and imported the maps into the website ThingLink.com. In Thinglink, they labeled the structures on the maps with pop-ups that provided detailed descriptions of the uses of the buildings, or linked to videos or photos.
Now here’s the cool part: Each student wrote a fictional narrative about the life of a typical colonial child growing up in the selected region and used the map he or she labeled as the setting for the story.
“This was a great project because I want to be a writer when I get older and I love history,” said Julia Kapitula. “I’m a big history buff.”
You can see a village layout that Kaitlyn Liamero created at
The STEM challenge
The Professor on “Gilligan’s Island” would have rocked the fourth-grade’s STEM challenge. He was always taking a hodge-podge of materials and making something useful – occasionally something actually plausible, such as his seawater-powered battery charger. (His lie detector made from bamboo and coconuts, not so much.)
But the type of ingenuity and imagination that the Professor displayed in every episode is exactly what the STEM challenge was designed to inspire.
Students were given the task of creating a device that would catapult a little green army figure the farthest distance, using only:
– one cup
– one spoon
– six popsicle sticks
– two rubber bands
– two feet of tape
– two feet of string
The only other direction was that at least two of the provided items had to be used. That’s it. Here’s your goal, here are your materials, ready, set, learn!
The students could manipulate any of the materials in any way they saw fit and were free to try a number of different configurations. The east hallway was the launcher proving ground where students could test their ideas and determine what adjustments would be needed, or go back to the drawing board and try something completely new.
“It was completely student-directed,” said Lorri Vaccaro, fourth-grade teacher. “They were doing a lot of critical thinking and reasoning. We didn’t give them any direction. We said try things out, see what works, and went around the room asking questions such as ‘Why do you think that will work?’ to get students to explain their thinking process and get them to think things through.”
So what did students learn from this activity? Here’s what some said:
“It helps you figure out engineering and how things work.” – Maxwell Hack
“There was a lot of trial and error. It was a great chance to learn from your mistakes. We tested, if something was wrong you fixed it up and tried to make it better.” – Ines Sison
“I learned that ‘simple’ can sometimes be the best.” – Aditya Patnaik
“You can make a lot of things from what you have at home.” – Ananya Dasjoju
After the devices were finalized, the students went outside to launch their green plastic army figures in the actual competition. David Kopityra won with his simple device that launched his figure more than 42 feet.
The Professor would have been proud.