Sixth graders at Glenwood Springs Middle School have some inventive solutions to everyday problems
The fall semester at Glenwood Springs Middle School saw the return of some traditional student-project showcase events that have been on hold since before the pandemic.
Among them was the sixth-grade students’ Solutions Symposium, which took center stage at the school just before the holiday break on Dec. 20.
After reading a book in their language arts classes about a young inventor, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” students were challenged to invent a solution to some practical problems they’ve encountered.
“The students took that design model and then used it and applied it in their own thinking,” GSMS science teacher Autumn Rivera said of the parallels between the story in the book and their own solutions to a given problem.
Students were given a research topic, picked a specific problem related to that topic, came up with a solution and then presented it to their parents, siblings and classmates in an open-house style symposium held in the school library and gymnasium.
The interdisciplinary project also involved an analysis of the work in their math classes, and an explanation of how it could affect the community as part of their social studies classwork.
“This is a chance to present the entire expedition,” Rivera said in explaining the EL (expeditionary learning) model utilized at GSMS.
Some students teamed up on projects, and the showcase included 120 students presenting 80 different projects.
Among the inventions was a new way to build a gondola, such as those found at ski areas or at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Some students invented a new, warmer pair of gloves or other articles of clothing, focusing on thermal energy and the science of heat transfer. Others designed mugs to keep drinks hot, and yet others built a better ice-cream container to keep their tasty treat from melting too fast.
Attendees were asked to vote for the best invention at the end of the evening, and the winner was announced during the morning announcements on the last day of school before the break.
“This is our final project for the semester, and it was a lot of fun because it was the first example of being able to show off the students’ work since before COVID,” Rivera said. “It’s always fun to be able to celebrate the students and invite the community into our school.”
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Among the planned additions to the career expos is a website that would allow students to take a work personality assessment and build a career profile that can help direct them to some possibilities ahead of time.
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