SOUTH DALEY, ND (KFYR) – This weekend, a group of students from South South will pack up the STEM project they’ve been working on all school year and head to Washington, DC. City’s next tournament in North Dakota now goes to nationals. Children are definitely impressionable, and this week’s Featured Teacher prefers to have all the attention on them. But they told us how Jerrica Smith helped them achieve so much success.
Jerrika Smith teaches 6th grade at South Hearth, but she does more for the community than that. After reading and science lessons in her classroom, the space becomes a testing ground where her Future City teams can use their STEM education to design a city that can thrive 100 years into the future. .
“They create all these elements that I never thought about growing up,” Ms. Smith said.
Their model is made of glass lids that represent power generators and decorative pieces of classrooms Mrs. Smith sacrificed to make their agricultural system designed to combat climate change. They are a modest representation of many hours of strategic planning and research.
“They have to consider the areas, what are your building materials, what is your energy source and how do you deal with sewage,” he said.
This team of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students is the best in their work.
“Knowing that we’re kind of a winning team, it helped us do better,” Zach O’Brien, 8th grade, said of his success at this year’s regional tournament.
When North Dakota opened the City of the Future competition to schools four years ago, Southern Hearts won year after year. This year, their ticket will not prevent citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m really excited and I think we’re going to do really well there,” said Shayden Moe, 8th grade, about his upcoming trip.
They are going to Washington, DC in person, not via Zoom. And the town of 400 goes head-to-head with schools in other states and even countries with far more resources.
“They are charter schools or science schools. They use Future City as a real course that you can learn in the classroom. And for us, here at Southern Heart, it’s an extracurricular program. And I’m dealing with elementary tables, junior high tables, basketball. That’s why we don’t practice until 6:30 at night.”
Ms. Smith juggles schedules to find time to practice at least three times a week, adding crunch time on weekends when necessary. But it all pays off in more ways than one.
“Seeing those aha moments that they have. Or those moments where they teach each other or interact effectively that we don’t even see some adults do. It’s really impressive to me,” he said.
The school also raised money for the big trip through bake sales and fundraisers at basketball games. They still have a little way to go to reach their goal.
The team will leave Bismarck early Friday morning for a flight to DC and the competition will continue through the weekend.
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