A Service-Learning and Teacher Education Project: Moving Monsters using Pneumatics at Goodyear Elementary
Authors: Eryn Graeter and Brittany Harper
Caroline Geiken, Ph.D. and Amy Sneed, Ph.D.
For this service-learning project, our Special Populations and Middle Grades Instruction and Assessment classes partnered with Goodyear Elementary School’s After School Program. Over the course of one month, we planned and implemented engineering-based lessons to students in the third, fourth, and fifth grade, naming ourselves the “Solution Squad.” During our time at Goodyear Elementary, we designed a range of lessons that encouraged students to use creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, and embedded literacy through hands-on activities. The culminating task in the “Solution Squad” was a project in which were tasked to create a moving monster using pneumatics. This project required that students use a variety of materials to act as engineers in constructing a monster for Disney’s newest Monster’s Inc. Movie. We were thrilled to see the growth that took place in our students as they took academic risks, worked together, and wrote powerful persuasive essays to Disney in an attempt to convince them their monsters were the best! This experience was meaningful to everyone involved. As future educators, we were able to move from theoretical situations to a world of practice by integrating community service with academic content that we have explored during our time in the education program at CCGA.