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Thursday, August 21, 2014
Instructor Leah Bernstein helped Daniel Amin, a fourth-grader at the Willow Road School, and his mother, Savita, with their origami project at District 13’s Explorations Day on May 5.
School News
After-school learning made fun
District 13 enrichment students enhance their education
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Garrick Neuner talked about the robo-toaster he invented in the Design Thinking workshop.

Students in District 13’s enrichment program got a reward for all their hard work this year — more time in school.

The district hosted its third annual Explorations Day for gifted and talented students on May 5 at the James A. Dever School. Children were able to pick from a variety of interactive educational programs, while also enjoying a pizza dinner.

In one classroom, students were taught stop-motion animation so they could make their own Lego movie. They learned skills such as scene manipulation, lighting, pacing and camera methods.

Down the hall, there was an origami class, where participants explored mathematical concepts by folding geometric patterns and making a paper cube. In robotics, students learned commands to make a robot run and performed desired routines. The Design Thinking workshop asked children to use their problem solving skills to come with new innovations.

Garrick Neuner, a fifth-grader at Dever, was one the students in that class. He used Legos to design his programmable walking robo-toaster — a prototype, of course. He was given the task of inventing something to make a better breakfast.

He said he chose that class because he wanted to put his creativity to use. “I was curious and it sounded interesting,” he said. “I learned that inventing a long process.”

Lisa Sells-Asch, the assistant superintendent for special services, said that Explorations was open to all gifted and talented children in grades 4-6, and about 35 took part in the evening program. Parents were invited to come in and learn right beside their children.

Sells-Asch said that all presenters were asked to make their programs interactive. After a short introduction, they led the children in hands-on activities. “We want them to be engaged as much as possible and to create their own learning,” she said. “The more interactive, the better.”

By having students from all four elementary schools come, Sells-Asch said it gave the children the chance to make some new friends. “It gives them the opportunity to meet other students who might be in other buildings,” she said, “and work together.”

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