Some first graders at Mispillion Elementary School recently showcased their growth with hands-on interactive displays, like a foaming volcano and Vermont cheddar cheese samples, with their geography project, “The 50 States: A Tour of our Country.”
From spotty sentences to interactive research projects, Mispillion Elementary School teacher Donna Gibson said there’s a lot of growth that happens in the first year of elementary school.
Some first graders at Mispillion showcased their growth with hands-on interactive displays, like a foaming volcano and Vermont cheddar cheese samples, with “The 50 States: A Tour of our Country.”
When students previously understood geography as “the state of Milford,” the youngsters now have a clear understanding of the 50 states that make up the United States, Gibson explained.
“At first it was very guided,” Gibson said, adding that soon after the project was assigned, some students took the initiative to work on projects at home and pursue individualized research. “They really take pride in their work.”
About 100 students participated in the program throughout the schools’ six first-grade classes, creating posters, food samples and costumes to help them remember important state facts, like large industries and products. Some, like Amayia Harris, practiced reciting individual state facts.
Harris, 6, did her best to quietly recite some Delaware facts she worked hard to memorize, like the state’s largest city and state song.
Other students, like first-grader Hannah Gibson, enjoyed the chance to work on a hands-on project, using glue and other creative measures to learn about geography as well as public speaking through Wednesday’s presentation of the project.
“It’s fun because you get to tell a lot about your state,” Hannah said, as she pointed out Kentucky’s state animal, the gray squirrel. “You learn there’s lots of cool stuff in your state.”
While “The 50 States: A Tour of our Country” gave students a chance to get creative while learning geography, Gibson and RtI coordinator Nancy Carter said it fulfilled the Common Core state standards in the area of research, geography and public speaking for the elementary students.
“Even at the higher grade levels, they love to research things, and this gets them excited about reading,” Carter said.
Gibson agreed that the students’ excitement about learning made the geography progress a success worth showcasing to parents.
“First grade has such tremendous growth through the year,” she said. “The enthusiasm they have [is impressive]. It’s really nice to see them sharing and learning about each other.”