A Project To Help Their Teachers

A Project To Help Their Teachers

ABOVE, a Fairfield Elementary students practices pre-drilling to help out with the construction of a new “habitat” for teachers as part of a Project Based Learning project. Fourth grade students studied living spaces and decided to improve their teachers’ habitat with some shade at recess. AT LEFT, students work together on building materials. The pergola building project took place over three days at Fairfield Elementary and was designed with help from RCHS construction students. (Harrison Mines photos)

A Project To Help Their Teachers

A FAIRFIELD fourth-grader learns basic construction safety with the help of a Rockbridge County High School student in preparation for building a new structure on the Fairfield Elementary playground. (Harrison Mines photo)

A Project To Help Their Teachers

GIRLS of the Fairfield Elementary fourth grade class get a lesson in carpentry next to the pergola designed in collaboration with the RCHS Introduction to Construction class. (Harrison Mines photo)

A Project To Help Their Teachers
Fairfield Students Get Help From RCHS Class To Construct Pergolas

Fairfield Elementary fourth-graders teamed up with Rockbridge County High School students last month to build a new “habitat” for teachers on the playground.

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 29, and finishing up Thursday, Oct. 30, fourth grade students met with the RCHS construction and technology class to build pergolas as part of a Project Based Learning project.

Fairfield Elementary teacher Stephanie Tuttle said the unique project began with the fourth grade’s unit on living systems and habitats. By learning the functions of a happy and healthy habitat, students came up with the idea to improve teachers’ “living space” with shady pergolas at recess by observing possible improvements to their school.

The fourth grade class connected with the RCHS construction and technology class, taught by Stephanie Tuttle’s husband, Bradyn Tuttle, to organize their ideas into conception. Construction students produced a design based on the fourth-graders’ suggestions and sent it back for review. Fourth-graders critiqued the design, Stephanie Tuttle said, and sent their thoughts back to the high school for revision.

A second design was created by the construction class and the RCHS students brought it to the Fairfield Elementary playground to begin building that Tuesday.

The project received funding from the Rock-bridge County Public Schools Foundation and Spencer’s Home Center and Lowe’s helped provide materials.

In small-group rotations on that Wednesday, construction students took the lead in showing Fairfield fourth-graders safety procedures and how to measure and pre-drill.

While the older students did most of the heavy lifting, fourth-graders were able to learn new skills, collaborate with others and think critically, exhibiting several of the core focuses of Project Based Learning.

The design of the pergolas allows for the growth of ivy along the top lattice in the spring, offering a cool covering for teachers on recess duty.

By working together, the fourth grade class and high school construction students were able to produce a new structure for the enjoyment of the school community.