Students Unite for a Unique Math Experience at Rupley
Any time our students collaborate, amazing things can happen. At Rupley Elementary, a new initiative provides students that opportunity while they work with some new faces.
Staff at Rupley wanted to offer a series of inclusive projects for students in the Educational Life Skills (ELS) program, which is designed for children with disabilities. These projects would allow them to work more directly with general education students. With that in mind, students from two third grade classrooms recently paired up with students of the same age from the ELS program for six math lessons.
The result: some unique creations and new relationships.
“The students in the ELS program were excited to make something, and this was a great way to incorporate collaboration, teamwork, and creativity,” said Michelle Zubik, an ELS teacher at Rupley. “They enjoyed using a new space in the multipurpose room and using repetition to learn with their teams.”
ELS Program Supervisor Karen Starr chose this lesson due to math being a goal area at the school. This particular series tasked students with creating a roller coaster and utilizing a testing process to learn how angles, velocity, and speed affect their models.
“In the end, they all had a common goal of getting their roller coaster to work,” said Tracey Villegas, a dual language teacher at Rupley. “They pushed each other to try new things and some enjoyed the challenge of making the roller coaster more complex than the requirement.”
Both mono and dual language students spent weeks connecting with students in the ELS program as they combined recent lessons from their respective classrooms and applied them to one math learning experience. Students in the ELS program had recently finished a portion of their program on scientific inquiry and spent time during this project practicing relevant skills, such as measuring. General education students also gained experience working with fellow students at varying communication and education levels.
“They pushed each other to try new things and some enjoyed the challenge of making the roller coaster more complex than the requirement.”
-Tracey Villegas, Rupley Teacher
Students shared how they wanted to make sure they included all suggestions and ideas to make the final result would be a true team effort.
“If we had a problem, we could solve it,” said Anjani, a third grade student. “My team worked together and shared ideas because we wanted to make the roller coaster better.”
Staff hope this type of inclusive lesson can thrive in other grade levels and are looking into expanding this experience by possibly having students in the ELS program participate in a science fair later this year. In the meantime, students will continue to practice and take advantage of their new math skills.