Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
This story features a learning activity that took place prior to school closures due to COVID-19.
Bennett Elementary School students recently completed phase one of an outdoor project that’s been two years in the making. Teachers challenged the kids to creatively display what they’ve learned while researching the native plants and animals of Virginia. Students were guided by Gifted Teacher Renee Blaine-Duggan and Art Teacher Amy Holt.
The concept involved using plastic bottle caps to represent a scene in nature that focused on the plants and animals they had researched. Sticking as close to actual scale as possible, students used math to calculate the number of bottle caps they would need. Then, they accumulated lids over a two-year period leading up to the project launch.
“We are still working on a few large interior pieces that will be hung on a wall along a ramp. We’ve made a giant microscope, a paint palette and a treble clef already… [W]e’re in the process of finishing up a DNA model, stack of books, globe and sports equipment,” said Holt.
All K-5 students were given the chance to help screw the bottle caps onto the wooden frame. “They were so excited to wear safety glasses and use the impact drivers,” said Holt.
The younger students got one-on-one assistance to help alleviate any fears due to the sound of the tools. A group of fifth grade girls became so comfortable with the impact drivers that they instructed younger students. The same girls even gave up several indoor recesses to work on the structure.
The project has received an overwhelming degree of support from the school community. It is funded by SPARK, the Education Foundation for Prince William County Public Schools.