A student-driven project proved to be an exciting event for Grade 2 kids at Ponoka Elementary School (PES).
Two Grade 2 classes were involved in a project where they learned about three different communities: Ponoka, Alta.; Iqaluit, Nunavut and Meteghan, N.S. In each of those communities, kids learned about the different cultures and resources in each area, explained Maggie Henderson, Grade 2 teacher at PES.
She and, Shaunna Wessner, another Grade 2 teacher, worked on the multi-community learning project with their students that brought together art, crafts and math.
They created art works and food items for a two-day sale, March 19 and 20, at the school’s library. To get people interested, students had to create their own advertising with posters and other art. They posted them around the school and sent out notices to parents.
“It brought in real-life aspects the whole way through,” said Henderson.
“Pieces are influenced from the resources of each community,” she added.
Ponoka has a strong beef and farm industry, which inspired students to sell all-beef hot dogs and a cookie mix made from oats to represent farmers. They called them Cowgirl and Cowboy Cookies.
Iqaluit is well known for its diamond resources, said Henderson, which gave the students the idea to make necklaces representing diamonds. To incorporate the Inuit culture, students made their own drums.
Fruits, fish and coal were integral pieces of the third community of Meteghan, explained Henderson.
Students painted artwork using hand-cut Styrofoam fish and created apples from yarn and had those up for sale. Henderson said Meteghan’s rich soil helps produce fruit that is renowned in the area.
Meteghan is also known for coal mining, said Henderson, and students created bags of black cotton balls to represent the fossil fuel.
“They decided they wanted to do something great for the community,” explained Henderson.
She said the Ponoka Stampede and its adoption of the Tough Enough To Wear Pink program, by Wrangler Jeans, inspired students. They wanted to be part of that effort and decided to donate the money to cancer research programs.
Wessner expects another project for next year. “But we believe it’s going to be on a bigger scale with all Grade 2 classes,” said Wessner.
She feels the students were quite motivated with this project and looks forward to next year.
The long-term project also featured Prairies, Acadian and Ponoka celebration days were students were part of different learning centres such as traditional baking, language games and music lessons.
Parents and students supported the project so much that many items sold out within a few minutes of being open.