Students Showcase Streetcar Project in Summer Acceleration Program

Students Showcase Streetcar Project in Summer Acceleration Program
Shawnee Mission School District

This summer, a group of Shawnee Mission fifth- and sixth-graders have been working to answer the following question: Can you create a scale model of the Kansas City Streetcar route and program a robot to simulate the stops?

The answer was proven to be “yes,” as students shared their answers recently at a math enrichment learning showcase held recently at ApacheIS Elementary School. Their work and showcase were all a part of the Isabel Helmuth Summer Acceleration program, offered to elementary students at ApacheIS and Crestview elementary schools this summer.

The program is funded in full by The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation through the generosity of the family of the late Isabel Helmuth, a lifelong educator who believed in the power of education for young learners. 

At the showcase, students spoke with educators and community members who attended about what they had learned and demonstrated the streetcar routes and models they created using Ozobot robots. In addition to providing a hands-on exploration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), the project provided students an opportunity to explain their process and products with an audience, instructional coach Joanna Roche said. Visitors at the showcase asked students to explain what they learned, how math was involved, and what ideas they have to extend their learning.

“Students embraced the challenge,” Joanna Roche, instructional coach said. “I wanted students to see how math is about patterns, discovery, reasoning, and collaboration. They were able to explain what they learned, how they learned it, the success and failures, and more.”

The Isabel Helmuth Summer Acceleration program was first piloted at Crestview Elementary School in 2018, with the aim of keeping student academic skills strong during the summer months. This year, the program expanded to ApacheIS. In addition to academics, teachers work to offer hands-on learning experiences that are also fun. Students worked in classroom project-based learning opportunities and also were able to learn from guest speakers, including community partners from Science City and the Kansas City Zoo. Click here to see a video of the Kansas City Zoo visit to Crestview Elementary School.