STEM, Social Studies, and Slightly Spooky Lessons Found at Lenexa Hills on Oct. 31

Haunted House
Shawnee Mission School District

Lenexa Hills students were treated to a variety of creative activities as they attended school on Halloween day.

For second-graders, it was a day to place haunted houses they had created on sale, giving them a chance to present their work to their classmates. Click here to see a video. The students, who designed and built their own haunted houses, have been learning how to create and read maps as part of their social studies curriculum.

Students built the houses from cardboard pizza boxes and added a compass, key, and scale.

“I thought a compass was an arrow and didn’t know it was about direction,” second-grader Stella Jackman said. “I learned a few tricks like the initials on a compass can stand for ‘Never Eat Soggy Waffles’ to remember the order.”

Before the student haunted house mock-sale, real estate agents visited classrooms to help students learn more about the career. The visitors shared pictures of homes, brochures, and discussed how to compare and contrast different elements of homes. Students created their own haunted house brochure to entice buyers that helped students practice opinion writing skills.  

“This project incorporated social studies and writing,” Anna Sahadeo, second-grade teacher said. “It even included math as one student pointed out when they had to measure their different rooms to their scale.”

In addition to incorporating several areas of study, students also gained practice working on a larger-scale project.

“We worked on building our houses step-by-step and I learned not to give up,” said Kellen Hemler, second-grader.

In sixth-grade classrooms, STEM learning was evident as students designed marble roller coasters. Teams used a variety of items brought from home, students worked to build the tallest and most difficult path. The students were encouraged to consider physics, gravity, momentum and velocity in their projects.

“We wanted our roller coaster to be tall but to keep it stable, we are using a pyramid-shaped base,” Katie Salcedo said.

This science, technology, engineering, and math project also included teamwork and problem-solving, sixth-grade teacher, Mary Hoelting said.

Finally, the library featured pumpkins decorated as favorite book characters created by students in all grades.

“I was overwhelmed at how creative our students are, their pumpkins are extraordinary,” instructional coach Jonathan Ferrell said. “These pumpkin characters are inspiring students to read books they see their classmates have enjoyed.”