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New Tech Middle School Students present to County Council

Sarah Keith and Keeley Farris could not have imagined how emeresed their sixth grade students would become in a project they were assigned before Christmas break. The two middle school teachers co-teach a class called Humanities at Palmetto New Tech at Colleton County Middle School. Humanities is a blending of both English Language Arts and Social Studies. New Tech projects serve a purpose, and focus on a driving question to guide their learning. It took the sixth graders eight weeks to complete the project. In the project, students worked to find a solution for the question: How can we as future citizens of Colleton County create a park that will teach the significance of ancient river valley civilizations as well as increase travel and tourism in Colleton County? The students not only completed the project but did so well five teams were able to present their work to County Council in their last meeting on January 8, 2019, an experience that helps prepare them to become future leaders of our community.

The project all began with a mock letter from a county councilman who told the students of some property the county would like to develop to increase tourism. The letter guided their learning, and provided clues that would helped steer student groups towards their goal. The tract of land that was discussed in the document was fictional, but the proposals that the students created are applicable in the real world. Students focused on designing a park along the river that would entice families with children to visit or live in Colleton County. The park was also designed to create revenue and entertainment for all people living here.

The teachers broke the students into groups and they began working on the project by using the letter as a guide and following a rubric given to them by Keith and Keeley.

The students encountered an interesting twist to their project as the Colleton County park was one of many regions they had to include in their projects. Some of the other regions were Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China, all of which were early civilizations located along river valleys.

Keith and Keeley were very proud of all the hard work the students put in to their in class project. Student group projects were scored on both their 3D model and their presentation, using a rubric. The five highest scoring groups, two from the SPICE class and three from the regular education class, were selected to present their projects to County Council. The students that were presenters were Brielle Peltier, Dylan Keith, Laynie Sanders, Niquee Agina, Madison Miller, Shannon Smoak, Devin Dwight, Asheland Craven, Only Crosby, Kristen Varnadoe, Jayden Mack Currie, Imani Allen, Caylen Segura, Matthew Shearer, DaKayla Jenkins, Victoria Lopez, and Lacee Lee. While the students presented their information, Keith and Keeley held the 3D models for everyone to see.

In an interview with the students after their presentation, students talked about what it was like to stand before the Councilmen. Some really enjoyed it and felt the councilmen were giving them their undivided attention while others did not enjoy the experience so much saying they felt nervous during their presentation. They also discussed the reality of planning a park and how it would be nice to be able to give their input but might not be the best to talk to as they don’t yet understand the entire process. They all seemed very eager to know more about how it all works leaving others to see the potential of future leaders being built at Colleton County Middle School. As for now, they all agree they will just focus on getting through the sixth grade.

Heather Walters (1502 Posts)