Grade 6 Project Showcase Earns Accolades

Barstow grade 6 students presented their integrated learning capstones to an audience of experts, faculty and families during the Environmental Project Showcase at Dan & Cassidy Towriss IDEA Space on Wednesday, May 1.
The showcase was the culmination of an intensive six-week pilot project in middle school that combined the core subjects of English, writing, social studies and science, with hands-on, project based learning at IDEA Space.

Students read the novel "Trash," by Andy Mulligan as a starting point on their learning journey. "Trash" tells the story of three boys who live in a landfill. The book inspired the question, "How can we, as innovators, re-design discarded materials to help solve a problem in the community?"

Sixth grade teachers Lisa Tillema, Amie Buckner, Carson Ferren and Erika Howery used "Trash" as a tool to teach the development of voice, style and mechanics in writing, the use of text-based evidence to support an argument, research methods and source evaluation, construction and interpretation of graphs and data, scientific principles of design and construction, relationships between people, places and environment — and a host of additional high-level, interdisciplinary skills.   

Student-led teams developed solutions to four types of waste management problems: electronic waste, food waste, textile waste and plastic waste. A panel of community experts evaluated the results and provided authentic feedback in this project-based learning pilot.

Students were challenged to develop business plans or write thorough research reports on their chosen topic. Working with Director of IDEA Space Cassie Banka '05 and facilitator Brad Evans, teams used the tools and technology at IDEA Space to create products and prototypes. Finally, a panel of community experts, including social entrepreneur Rick Caplan, Habitat for Humanity Director Emeritus Don Reck, Mid-America Regional Council Program Manager Dr. Diana Bryant, evaluated each solution to provide students with authentic feedback. 

The experts were impressed by the students' intelligence, curiosity and passion. "Seeing these students get so excited to find solutions gives us all hope," Don Reck said.

Mrs. Banka praised the students for their innovation and professionalism. "The sixth grade students presented their research with confidence and poise in front of a very large crowd. These past weeks have been wonderful, seeing IDEA Space used in so many different and remarkable ways." For more photos, view our album here.
    • The 2024 Environmental Project Showcase, May 1 at IDEA Space

    • Students led their learning to develop solutions to a waste management problem of their own selection.

    • During the showcse, students presented their findings and their products with an authentic audience, including family, faculty and local experts.

    • The expert panel will provide feedback as an essential part of the iteration process.

    • Lisa Tillema, Amie Buckner, Carson Ferren and rad Evans.

    • Experts from MARC, Habitat for Humanity, Circular KC, Missouri Organic Ramboll Engineering and the city of Kansas City, Missouri, provided feedback and guidance.

    • Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the final projects, posing for a photo with Dr. Gallagher and Mrs. Banka.

List of 4 items.