Recorder: "Take flight! Discovery School students show off their aerial knowledge"

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Clay bunted by Four Corners Student picture by Recorder Staff  Butterfly Wall by Four Corners Student picture by Recorder Staff
Take flight! Discovery School students show off their aerial knowledge

GREENFIELD — Do you know the four forces of flight?

Students at the Discovery School at Four Corners do, and they were proud to show off that knowledge at the most recent Showcase Night at their school.

At the event, kindergartners to fourth-graders presented their projects that taught them about aspects of flight. Projects ranged from papier-mâché airplanes and animals to essays on birds and famous aviators, and lined the hallways and desks of the quaint school of about 250 students Friday.

The projects showed the school’s thematic learning structure, which focuses on one topic for the school year and classes from math to English to science are built around it, according to Principal Jake Toomey.

“Kids get really engaged in it,” Toomey said. “They really get excited and enthusiastic about the topic and enthusiastic about learning.”

And while each student learns about the theme, each grade works on different aspects of the topic, providing a robust experience.

For fourth-graders, projects included building a plane model out of recycled products and building kites.

Third-graders researched birds, then wrote essays and built models of them.

Second-graders learned about flying animals and did experiments with hot air balloons and parachutes.

First-graders learned about the life cycle of the owl, and lessons included dissecting owl pellets.

Kindergarten students learned about flight through whirligigs and gliders.

According to Kristina Bergeron of Bernardston, whose daughter Payton Martin, 9, is a third-grader at the school who learned about yellow ridged toucans, the learning structure helps her child branch out to other aspects of learning.

“It’s a great little school, definitely lets them use their creative side,” Bergeron said.

And for students and teachers alike, it may make learning and teaching easier.

“I love theme-based learning. Kids get very excited,” Maureen Barisano, first-grade teacher, said. “It made it more fun to teach.”

“It didn’t really feel like learning. It felt like hanging out and building planes,” fourth-grader Sophia Rotkiewicz, 9, from Greenfield, said. “But sadly it was learning.”

The four forces of flight, by the way, are lift, thrust, drag and gravity.

You can reach Dan Desrochers at:

ddesrochers@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 257