Students from Suffield Elementary School demonstrated the uses of everyday objects by creating an arcade out of recycled materials from around the house as part of the school's six week "Earth" theme.
About 100 arcade games filled the school's gymnasium Friday as students tested their classmates' creations.
"Through this project, they're showing ownership for something they made, learning the need to recycle and doing a project with their parents," said Kris Baker, the Field School District's librarian.
Fourth grader Elisa Kucalaba made a Plinko game with her father out of boxes, wrapping paper and 112 pencils.
"It took two hours," she said. "It's all made out of recycles and renewable things."
Some of the other projects the students engineered included ball toss and ring toss games, basketball hoops, a claw machine, fishing booth, car racing game and Skeeball.
"I think it's something that's really caught on," said principal Shawn Bookman. "It's not just fun to do, but they use critical thinking to make the games work."
Bookman said the students designed the projects, wrote the directions and incorporated prizes into their games. Kindergarten teacher Lynn Holloway also is thinking about having the students write a narrative about the experience so she can publish it online.
The project was inspired from a story Bookman heard about a 9-year-old boy from California, Caine Monroy, who created an arcade out of recycled material in his father's auto parts store. A video was made of the boy's arcade and, after it went viral, helped raise a scholarship of more than $228,000 for Caine, according to cainesarcade.com.
After discovering Caine's project, Bookman thought it was the perfect addition to the school's "Earth" theme. Every six weeks the teachers present a new theme to help motivate student learning. Some of the ideas included fairy tales and folklores, international studies and American heros, where veterans visited the school to spend time with the students.
The next theme will be dedicated to literacy. A collection of the students' writing will be presented at a literacy fair, which will take place in conjunction with an art show May 16.
"It's been a positive experience," Bookman said. "The kids have things to look forward to and it puts some more fun into learning."
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