Pupils putt for studies

Sequim Gazette staff

The teachers may be using every tool in the toolkit, but these students just need one club, the putter, from their golf bags.


Shannon Paselk and Meredith Johnson, Sequim Middle School teachers, got creative with a joint project last week, asking their students to design a mini-golf course hole and combine their mathematics and science knowledge.


The pair team-teach a group of sixth-grade students. During a monthlong testing period in which some classes extend up to two hours, the teachers were looking for a project to keep their pupils engaged. Johnson came up with the mini-golf idea and the two ran with it.


Above and beyond their creative designs — and there were plenty — students divided into groups and were required to assimilate a number of science and math skills. The overall design had to reflect one of the cells they are studying in science: plant, animal or microbe.


Each design came with a minimum of three challenges that had to represent the function of cell parts.

“I think the kids are so engaged by this,” Paselk said. “It’s a great way to combine math and science skills.”


Students also had to meet an overall area requirement, between eight and 12 square meters, and they had to complete a scale drawing of the design that detailed the challenges.


Further, they had to list all materials they would use, including correct measurements of supplies, and create informational posters for the middle school’s hallways. Students voted and chose six designs they wanted to see built.


Then students were charged with building their mini-golf holes.


That, Paselk said, created a number of problems, as construction materials were at a premium.


The teachers and students got plenty of help from volunteers Cathy and Mike Radford, Scott Balkan and Robert Falk.


Paselk and Johnson said it was their first year teaming together for this kind of project.


“I think we’ll do more next year,” Paselk said.



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