PBL Spotlight: Nevitt Students Get Hands-On with Concrete
For the entire 2017-2018 school year year, Nevitt Elementary gifted education (PACE) students will be participating in hands-on project-based learning (PBL) activities that promote their understanding of how their school will be rebuilt. On October 26, this class of 15 students, ranging from third- through fifth-graders, were brought together for another engaging STEM lesson with members from Concord General Contracting, Inc.
The focus of this week’s lesson was understanding the making of concrete and giving students experience in working with cement. Beginning with an engaging powerpoint highlighting scientific properties, students then moved outside to dig their hands into the cement. Gifted Teacher Meg Masters was excited for her students to have the opportunity to work with Concord employees.
“Concord has been really helpful by working with our PBL format,” said Masters. “We got together this summer and they were very flexible with adapting their lesson plans to include more hands-on activities for our students.”
Students got hands-on right away by breaking up into small groups and creating a wooden frame for the cement to be poured into. Concord and Tempe Elementary Facilities Management for Learners (FMFL) employees helped guide the students, but students ultimately took charge of their learning by figuring out how to put the frames together and hammering nails to hold it in place.
“Usually my dad will let me watch when he does construction projects at home,” said Fifth-Grader Alesia Bradford. “It’s really cool that now I am doing my own construction project.”
This is the third year that Tempe Elementary has partnered with Concord to provide STEM classes for students in schools which are in the process of being rebuilt. STEM Coordinator Amy Bemis is excited to see the program grow this year with a PBL component for students.
“This is a phenomenal program with a goal of making our students ambassadors in their community,” said Bemis. “These students get to experience real life STEM scenarios and share the excitement with other students when they return to their classrooms.”
After the frames were completed, Concord employees filled up a wheelbarrow with fresh cement. Students took shovels and took turns pouring the cement into the frames while other students were ensuring that the cement was leveled by using a concrete trowel tool. Fourth-Grader Marques Fuentes was one of the students that took pride in ensuring the cement was nice and leveled.
“I always look forward to this class,” said Fuentes. “I love to work with my hands and who knows, one day I might go into construction when I grow up.”
Once students had filled their frames and smoothed out the edges, Concord employees had each student personalize their cement block by writing their initials. The cement was then left in the sun to harden while students and staff cleaned up their tools.
Concord Vice President Jason Beaver has been involved in STEM classes at Tempe Elementary for the past three years working with students and staff at Laird School, Arredondo Elementary, and Gililland Middle School. He is excited to be continuing his work with Nevitt Elementary this year.
“It’s really great that these kids have a say as to how their school will be rebuilt,” said Beaver. “As a special PBL inclusion, Nevitt students will help design their new courtyard, which we are really excited about.”
Nevitt Elementary will begin construction in February 2018 and the completion date is set for fall 2019. Stay tuned for more updates regarding Nevitt Elementary’s rebuild by checking our website news!