Fraser Valley Elementary students build for the future |

Fraser Valley Elementary students build for the future

From left, standing, Danny Luksa, Kyle Ciccarelli, Avery Steinberg, Simon Zink and (sitting) Henry Hoyhtya and Jake Kacik. Not pictured: Ryan Jones and Elliot Shaw

A group of fourth and fifth grade boys at Fraser Valley Elementary have been building big dreams in industrious new ways.

Using the UberArc 3200 kit as a tool in their gifted/talented class at Fraser Valley Elementary School, the boys erected connected twin towers, each standing 5 feet, 3 inches tall, using only authentic blueprints with no written instructions.

UberArc, a professional construction kit purchased through a grant from Mountain Parks Electric, gave the children a chance to build a model of a real building and hone their skills in spatial intelligence and problem solving.

The boys worked in teams of four, and each student held his own job and responsibility to contribute to the team’s success.

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Reading the blueprints was a challenge, according to class coordinator Laurie Ciccarelli, as one team interpreted the directions differently than the other team.

They soon learned one mistake could change the alignment of the entire structure.

“Mistakes, though, sometimes prove to be great learning tools,” Ciccarelli said, “and both teams were able to use their challenges and successes to ascertain new understanding.”

In the end, each boy was asked to reflect on several project components, including his team’s ability to work cohesively, his individual contributions, and advice for the next group of builders who would tackle this project.

“This UberArc project is a team-bonding experience,” said Jake Kacik, a fourth-grader.

Ryan Jones, a fifth-grade builder, said, “I learned as the general contractor that being on a team means helping everybody understand, not just worrying about whether I get it or not.”

The group of nine students meets once a week under the guidance of Ciccarelli and parent volunteer Kris Sornson.

Their current project is working with a Lego “Mindstorms” kit, facilitating robots to come alive and perform a variety of computer-programmed operations.

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