Taking lessons from classroom to construction
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 10, 2013 | 2175 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New digs for dogs
Banta School eighth-grade students Andrew Maroulas (left) and Damian Ramirez attach the roof of a doghouse under construction on Friday, May 3.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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BANTA — A power drill hummed as eighth-grader Andrew Lorentz drilled into the support beam of a doghouse he and his classmates were building as part of school project Friday, May 3.

Project Extreme Doghouses is the idea of Banta School teacher Leslie Pombo, who wanted to find a way to teach her eighth-graders real-world skills such as teamwork, design and construction, through a class project.

Grouped into teams of six, students were given the choice of building birdhouses or doghouses — and they chose the latter.

Joaquin Hayes, one of Andrew’s collaborators on the Power Pupps team, said the class had no idea how much of a challenge the project would be.

“I’ve had a blast,” he said. “The math we had to use, I felt we didn’t need unless we were going to be a teacher, but we’ve used so many (formulas). It’s been truly beneficial to everyone.”

With the project in its ninth week, students hope to complete their projects for a Thursday, May 16, auction at the school to raise money for class activities such as graduation and field trips.

“I’m loving it,” Pombo said as she watched her 36 students laboring over their doghouses in the schoolyard.

“I knew they would learn certain things, but it’s gone above and beyond,” she said. “They learn as they go. That’s what it’s all about. I am very, very proud of them.”

At the start of the project, Pombo drew team names and let the students decide if they wanted to do a large or medium doghouse for an environment that was dry, wet or snowy.

The students then researched the environments before drawing up blueprint designs. Once they had the designs finalized, they solicited construction materials from local merchants.

“We’re just really trying to get ahead of the game and teaching where we were able to hit all the different subjects, math, science … crossing the curriculum,” Pombo said. “It involved the four C’s — collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communications.”

On Friday, the students were in the construction phase, putting together the donated materials.

Leading the class was team Go Big or Go Home, which wrapped up the project by gluing shingles onto the roof a large doghouse that would be for a canine living in the Northwest.

“It’s going good,” said eighth-grader Jazmin Gallegos. “We’re the group that’s gone the farthest, because we get along and we don’t argue like some of the other groups.”

“It’s a cool project,” said teammate Tyler Sordello. “It’s different from any others we’ve done. Hopefully, (we’ll get a lot of money).”

A glance over to the Dog the Builders team revealed three students crawling out of a large doghouse entrance. The members were checking its spaciousness for their dog, which would be living in a desert.

Clayton Borges noted a few ideas that made their doghouse unique.

“We’re thinking about adding a box to put dog food on the side,” he said. “When we auction it, we’ll add food and toys.”

When asked about his favorite part of the project, Clayton said with a broad smile, “Right now.”

Pombo plans to have a family picnic at the school Saturday, May 11, to give students time to complete their projects and let their families see their hard work.

“It never ceases to amaze me what little Banta can do,” Pombo said. “All of it is pure profit.”

The public can watch the students’ progress on the school website at www.bantaesd.sharpschool.net.

The Thursday auction and fundraiser dinner begins at 7 p.m. at Banta School, 22375 El Rancho Road.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
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