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Friday, August 29, 2014
School News
Seventh graders explore life
Students visit state park to learn valuable teamwork, academic skills
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Blake McBride and Ik Ekhator show off their team flags.

Normally students at Memorial Junior High School spend their days traveling from class to class in the three-story brick building on Fletcher Avenue. But for 300 seventh graders on Oct. 26, their classroom was nature.

Students spent the day at Valley Stream State Park, just a few hundred yards north of the school, participating in a variety of team-building activities. It was the school’s first Explorations program, designed to teach the students important life lessons.

The seventh-grade class is together for the first time at Memorial Junior High this year after coming over from about a dozen elementary schools in three different school districts. And the majority of them will be together for the next six years until they graduate from Central High. “This is a great opportunity for them to keep that friendship building process that’s taking place,” said Principal Anthony Mignella.

Explorations was organized by seventh-grade teachers Kim Cazzetto (English), Erin Primm (science), Andrea Trager (social studies), Christina Miceli (math) and MaryAnne Gustav (special education). Together they created a program that was meant to be both fun and educational for the students.

In Stack Attack, students had to stack 21 cups in a pyramid. Two teams competed against each other, with each of six students per team needing to complete the task. Key Punch tested math skills, as the students had to create a number line sequence. In Building Blind, one group had to use wooden blocks to create a structure, then another group had to recreate it using clues.

After each station, the students then had to write reflections. Mignella said that every activity ties into the new Common Core Learning Standards, which are being implemented this year across the country and require more challenging coursework.

Primm said that last week’s activities at the state park certainly got students thinking. They were able to have fun and learn at the same time, she said, perhaps without even realizing it.

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