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Challenge for gifted students: Build towers to withstand elements

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 1/3/19

Fifth-graders in gifted programs at four area school districts worked together to try to build towers that could withstand wind, an earthquake and weight.

The students from Middletown Area School …

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Challenge for gifted students: Build towers to withstand elements

Posted

Fifth-graders in gifted programs at four area school districts worked together to try to build towers that could withstand wind, an earthquake and weight.

The students from Middletown Area School District, Lower Dauphin School District, Palmyra Area School District and Derry Township School District gathered at Kunkel Elementary School on Nov. 29 for the Challenge Day.

Last year, the students were asked to build a water ride, and this year, they were challenged to think about the  foundation of the towers they were building and whether they could withstand the elements.

The challenge was issued by Hershey Entertainment and Resorts.

Gifted teacher Trevor Davis said foundation is a key component when planning, designing and building a new rollercoaster at Hersheypark or redesigning the park’s front entrance.

Four Middletown students participated. The students worked in teams with students from other districts, though Davis said the students usually want to work with their friends from their own school.

“In fact, on the way to Kunkel with students from another school in our district, one of them asked if he could work with his friend from the same school who was also going,” Davis said.

But once the student got there and started working with his team, Davis said the student enjoyed teaming up with his peers from other schools.

The students used a variety of materials to construct their towers, such as cardboard tubes, boxes, buckets and egg cartons. Although it wasn’t a competition, at the end of the day, the students presented their towers and received feedback.

Davis said there were numerous benefits to the challenge. They include having students work on a real-world, hands-on problem-solving challenge; learning from their mistakes in a safe environment; critical thinking; and collaborating with others.

“Students are able to see how math and science and other concepts apply to the real world, in this case Hersheypark,” Davis said.