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Knights Ferry Bobcats Host Arcade Day
Air Hockey designed and built by Knights Ferry School third graders, Savannah McCarty and Brooke Kersten was a hit with the student body during the open arcade on Friday, Feb. 15. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

A little rain and a bit of thunder didn’t dampen the spirits or the fun of the Knights Ferry Bobcats this past Friday, as arcade fun was had by the entire student body.

On Friday, Feb. 15 the third and fourth grade classes under the leadership of teachers Kimberly McCarthy and Heather Stevenot hosted the campus to an afternoon of arcade games as a result of a most recent lesson in force and motion.

“The objective was that they needed to understand Newton’s laws of force and motion,” McCarthy said of the class projects. “Then they needed to apply that using their engineering skills.”

According to the third grade teacher the arcade is the result of Project Based Learning (PBL), an opportunity which gives students the ability to take information gathered through lessons and put it into play.

“We taught them all about Newton’s laws of force and motion, that took about two weeks,” the teacher shared. “Then they had four days to create, design, fix and implement this.”

Students were given the opportunity to choose a game of their choice as well as work solo or with a partner. In addition to the arcade games shared with the group they were tasked with writing an essay sharing what they learned from the process.

“For them to actually implement what we’re really teaching and learning and really have to use problem solving skills,” McCarthy said of the ultimate teaching goal from the lesson. “Those 21st century skills that are so important for any job. I feel like we’re helping create future engineers.”

Third grade students and future engineers Savannah McCarty and Brooke Kersten shared their passion for the project through construction of an air hockey table.

“We both could explain the science behind this really easily,” Savannah said, noting the team’s passion not just for science but for air hockey.

“Motion is a never ending force that doesn’t stop without friction,” she continued.

In the fourth grade classroom, students Tristan Voortman and Julian Arias shared a similar passion for their Skee Ball arcade game and the science behind it.

“We thought it would be the most fun, because Skee Ball is a popular game,” Tristan stated enthusiastically.

“Sometimes force and motion don’t go your way,” the fourth grader added of some of their struggles. “Whenever you want something to happen it doesn’t always happen.”

“The fact that the kids are excited about science,” fourth grade teacher Stevenot said of the lesson reward. “It’s a simple game but the science that’s behind it requires them to think. It was great because they had successes and failures.”

Both teachers agreed that the combination of the enthusiasm through the PBL and opportunities offered to students who may struggle in traditional learning environments create the biggest win from this lesson.

“That’s what’s amazing about Project Based Learning, is that you can really incorporate all the different elements of learning. They’re writing, they’re reading, they’re applying, they’re designing, engineering and everything,” Stevenot added.

“Doing this project based learning, I have students that would probably not give me a good essay if I told them just to give me an essay,” she continued. “I wouldn’t see their learning and the stuff I’ve been able to see here, just because they’re proud of their learning … That’s a teacher cheers.”