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An elevator, an octopus & lots of swimming pools

Parade of Homes: fifth grade edition

‘I was the boss’ on the project, noted Tripp Hoekstra, project manager on the house with the octopus in the swimming pool

Teacher Kelly Froehlich has turned a brainstorm about how to make the study of decimals more interesting into a full-on career exploration, STEM unit and pretty much a fifth grade rite of passage.

Inspired by the Home Builders Association’s annual West Michigan Parade of Homes, students in Froehlich’s class hone geometry skills while exercising their imaginations and exploring potential careers including architecture, construction, interior design, engineering and landscaping.

“It ties in multiple content areas, and they have so much fun with it,” Froehlich said. “It also makes their learning real world and future real world.”

And it’s a multi-generational, community effort. The school’s PTO pays for materials, and parents do the foam-board cutting based on student’s measurements. “I was the boss” on the project, noted Tripp Hoekstra, project manager on the house with the octopus in the swimming pool.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.

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