Suzanne Horan and her 5th grade class of gifted and talented students were recently showcased on our district website for an outstanding project they did this year. They each planned, researched, and developed products that could make a positive difference in the world. From a 3-d printed model of a staircase that collapses into a ramp for those who are wheelchair bound, to improved fitting for a prosthetic leg, these imaginative and empathetic students created an array of marketable products that could truly be practical and helpful.
The students dressed up for presentation day because they knew their work would be evaluated by an objective panel of judges who would score them based on, among other things, their research, passion for their topic, uniqueness of their product, and its usefulness. For the next stage, Mrs. Horan has invited a patent lawyer to speak to the class about the steps to take to market their products.
This is exactly the type of project that students need to be doing. It is relevant, based on student interests, and incorporates a multitude of thinking skills. I would like to bet these 5th graders will never forget this experience, and that it will inform many of their later important decisions in life.