BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - No topics - no matter how sensitive - were off limits this semester, as Bronxville Elementary School students were encouraged to show their passion for various social issues that currently affect their community.
As part of a “project-based learning experience,” fifth-grade students in Bronxville used technology to raise awareness for social issues that plague them - including pollution in the Bronx River, bullying and global warming - by developing websites and creating public service announcements encouraging support for their causes.
During the semester, students conducted research on their chosen projects, were tasked with finding multiple, credible sources, took notes, and collaborated with classmates to develop the messages they hoped to disseminate.
Fifth-grade teacher Rosana Colliniates said that the students developed passion for their individual causes during the projects.
“The students took great ownership in their learning. They’ve shown strong enthusiasm and excitement for these issues, especially after interviewing specialists in their fields,” she noted. “They’ve also learned about effective collaboration and have reflected on their own collaboration skills in order to become stronger team members.”
According to Colliniates, two of her students explored the issue around the lack of support for veterans and discovered that many find themselves living in the streets and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. During their project, the students created a website that now serves as an informational hub and resource for veterans to make contact with one another for support.
“There are a bunch of problems that people have to solve, and it’s more than a school project,” one of fifth-grade teacher Brittany Meshberg’s students said. “We want to make a difference because we want to (make the Earth) a better place to live on.”
Colliniates added that these projects are something that can benefit the students as they move toward middle and high school.
“I am so impressed with (the students’) enthusiasm and eagerness, and I believe they are truly shining through this project,” she said. “It is incredibly important that students realize that even at 10-years-old, they can have a positive impact on their school, community or world.
“The decisions they have make have a great affect on their lives and the lives of others. As students become more informed as citizens, they can make stronger decisions and ignite change.”
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