ROXBURY, NJ (December 21, 2018) – Gingerbread men and women have a new home and community this holiday season thanks to the creative engineers in second grade at Kennedy Elementary School in Roxbury Township.
Students in Liz Szigeti, Justin Iazzeti, and Kathy Byrne’s classes took their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) challenge to a whole new level when creating their gingerbread communities. The second graders had to learn how to engineer gingerbread houses that could stand on their own and take into consideration what would make them sturdy.
Second graders in Szigeti’s class thought through the whole process. “We thought about what makes a sturdy foundation, so we actually used different size boxes for ours. We glued the gingerbread onto the boxes because we thought that would be structurally sound as engineers,” explained Szigeti.
In small groups, her class decided they wanted their gingerbread community to represent some of their favorite places in Roxbury.
“The students thought this was a good idea and that was Phase 1. They had to do this in phases much like engineers and designers have to do in the real world. There were so many aspects to this because you had to go ahead and design what you were going to do. They did their best to design what it would look like using candy but not only that we had to think about the landscape around it. What other things do we see like cars and trees.”
The nine groups in Szigeti’s class created a gingerbread Wal-Mart, ShopRite, Roxbury Police Station, Roxbury Fire Department, McDonald’s, GameStop, Dunkin Donuts, Kennedy Elementary School, Justice, Bloom Auto, and a few houses for their community.
As part of the STEM challenge students how to draw a model of what their gingerbread house would look like and what materials that they would want to use to go with it. To tie in math, they had to graph the five candies that they used to help build their building. Then they had to determine which candy was used the most, least, and how many were used overall.
As part of the lesson, Szigeti had the students consider what a strong house needed. She used the example of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and explained how the roof and sides could become very heavy at times, so they were encouraged to go slow and steady and to wait for the icing and glue to dry. The projects were done in stage over three science afternoons.
“It took time. This was again another wonderful moral lesson from the Tortoise and the Hare. Another fine fable we read together.”
Houses were on display this week at Kennedy Elementary School for students and families to enjoy.
PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Schools)
- Small Szigeti Group (L to R): Michael O’Shea, Luke Pisciotto, Danica House, Grace Cudnik, Madison Stefany, Zach Recchia, and Savannah Clemente
- Szigeti 2nd Grade Class
- Wesley Castro and Tristian Brown’s Gingerbread House
- Byrne and Iazzetti 2nd Grade Classes
- 2nd Grade Staff Elves (L to R): Jennifer Gaydos, Justin Iazzetti, and Tara Gentle
- Roxbury PD
- Bloom Auto
- Kennedy School
- Roxbury FD
- Dunkin Donuts
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