Gingerbread Fortville: A tasty tribute by fourth-grade builders!
Check out Fortville Elementary School’s sweet project! The Fortville Elementary School (FES) fourth-grade students utilized a number of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) applications to create a Town of Fortville gingerbread replica. Students were placed into small groups and assigned a business to research, prepare a report, and create a gingerbread visual. All buildings were then connected to create a delicious replica of Main Street, various parks, and Mt. Vernon schools in Fortville.
Lydgia Palmer, FES Fourth Grade Teacher, explained how beneficial this project is for student learning. They started planning for the gingerbread project three months in advance to incorporate all the different aspects of the project.
As the Fortville community continues to grow, many new businesses were portrayed in the replica. For example, the addition of the new Fortville Elementary that is currently under construction was on display with plain graham crackers and big yellow caution tape.
This project has allowed students to be involved in their community, learn about the Town of Fortville, and ask owners questions about their businesses. Approximately 11 business owners, including Superintendent Dr. Parker, came in to give the fourth-grade students a presentation to share information about their business or organization. Students were then allowed to ask questions to further their understanding of the company.
Not only are business owners invited to see their student-created replica, but parents are invited to view the display as well.
This festive research project was an enjoyable way for the students to expand their knowledge, not only in STEAM subjects but also in social studies and language arts. Social studies was the main area of content covered by the project; students learned about Fortville’s development in Indiana, how to locate features on a map, and the effect Fortville businesses have on the local economy. Science was incorporated with students creating and learning about circuits to power the LED light on their gingerbread creations. In addition, the students were able to learn more about the works of 3D Printing and incorporated the use of 3D printing into parts of their gingerbread town. Math was integrated with students estimating the size and number of the materials that they would need to reconstruct the building. Students also used their language arts skills when reading, writing, and researching their assigned building.
In its fifth year, the fourth-grade teachers continually innovate the project and try to think of new ways to expand the project with diverse STEAM elements. This year, each fourth-grade class compiled their reports into books that were published which deemed the students as published authors. The books were available for purchase online for the student's families to have a forever keepsake of this project.
These engaging project-based learning projects help students learn more about and engage in the communities they call home. FES is truly living Mt. Vernon’s mission: Engage, Educate & Empower today’s students to seize tomorrow’s opportunities.