"Student" Mentors

"Student" Mentors
"Student" Mentors

            Kokomo High School students from three different classes – Geometry, Introduction to Construction, and Earth Science – spent two afternoons teaching Boulevard 1st and 2nd graders about different STEM concepts that tied into the Boulevard STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Mathematics) unit on Engineering and Design.

            “We are so proud of this collaborative effort between Kokomo High School and Boulevard STEM Elementary School,” KHS Vice Principal Jennifer Fowler explained. “We also are proud of our Kokomo High School students for their work as mentors to our young friends at Boulevard.”

            For the past several years, KHS teacher Kevin Sheets and his Introduction to Construction students have taught Boulevard students how to construct butterfly houses and bat boxes. This year the K-Tech Academy teacher proposed involving other KHS classes for a more comprehensive, collaborative project.

            “I felt it was a wonderful idea,” Mrs. Fowler noted.

            During the project, Boulevard students visited three classrooms at KHS. In each classroom, KHS students taught the 1st and 2nd graders something different.

            In one KHS classroom, Vincent Lorenz’s Earth Science students discussed the life of bats and butterflies. At one point, the KHS students explained the life cycle of a butterfly before introducing the elementary students to butterflies native to Indiana. The Boulevard students learned that the Viceroy butterfly eats aphids, honeydew, carrion, dung, and decaying fungi, while the Buckeye butterfly has a wingspan of 1.5 to 4 inches. The Boulevard students even watched a video of a butterfly eating an orange. The elementary students learned that a butterfly’s taste buds are on its feet.

            In the next classroom, Mr. Sheets and some of his students taught the 1st and 2nd graders how to build bat boxes and butterfly houses.

            Mr. Sheets demonstrated how a bat box is constructed, while also explaining how bats use the boxes.

            “When this is completed, 50 to 60 little bats can take a nap in this box at one time,” Mr. Sheets told the Boulevard students.

            The 1st and 2nd graders helped Mr. Sheets and his students sand the boxes once they were constructed.

            In a third classroom, KHS geometry students offered a hands-on lesson regarding area and perimeter. The Boulevard students used tape measures to calculate the measurements for several pieces of wood. The Boulevard students then learned how to use those measurements to calculate the area and perimeter.

            Boulevard STEM instructor Ann Ligocki said this collaborative project fit in nicely with the current STEM unit, which focused on engineering and design. The bat boxes and butterfly houses were the 2nd of three design projects the Boulevard students completed. The week prior to this collaboration, the Boulevard students built their own small car. The week after their project at KHS, the elementary students created a shield designed to protect an egg during an egg drop.

            “My Boulevard students loved working with the KHS students,” Ms. Ligocki explained. “My elementary students always are excited to visit the high school, and I feel they learned a great deal.”

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