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Working and learning together

Elementary, high-school students team up to make children’s books

Kent City — In a classroom at Kent City High School, dance parties and sing-alongs to Disney music break out as student groups get to work. Each group includes high school students from an anatomy class as well as a second-grader from Kent City Elementary. Together, they’re designing children’s books.

High school science teacher Tiffany Wojtas wanted to find a way to make a project for her anatomy class more engaging for her students and involve her class more in the community. The solution — inviting younger students to collaborate — came to her while talking with second-grade teacher Monica Moore. 

All together now: Kent City high-schoolers teamed up with second-graders to create illustrated books about the digestive system

“I immediately agreed,” Moore said. “I knew my second-graders would be very excited to work with high school students.”

“Learning happens at a deeper level when you have to teach someone else about the concepts,” Wojtas said. “This way my anatomy students get to teach the second-graders how and why we eat, while also learning the process at a deeper level themselves in a fun and creative way.”

One group’s completed book project, about the digestive system. It was written by Kylar Larson and Jacee Hoffman and illustrated by Easton Larson

Wojtas’ class was tasked with writing books about the digestive system for an elementary audience. They got a chance to test them out when Moore’s class joined them for two class periods to read the books and help by adding illustrations.

Wojtas said she was impressed with her high-schoolers for “taking the second-graders under their wings. … They have shown amazing collaborative skills and creativity so far, and I am super excited to see how the final projects turn out!”

Once the books are completed, each group will share their creation with both classes and students will vote for their favorites.

“I hope this experience reinforces our love for our own STEM science class and gets students excited about moving up in school and what they will experience,” Moore said. “I also hope they will see these students as role models and take away this as a favorite memory in second grade.”

Second-grader Brayden Lengkeek, right, works on a book about the digestive system with junior Will Harrison
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Abigail Ham, SNN intern
Abigail Ham is an intern reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She is a junior at Calvin University. She is the managing editor of Calvin’s student newspaper Chimes and editorial assistant for the academic journal Pedagogy. She also enjoys creative writing of all sorts.

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