A semester-long project ended in a flight simulation for Grade 3 students from Ecole Mother Teresa School.
The students have been working in small groups of two or three people to study a different country since February.
The months-long project culminated in an “exhibition of learning” on June 1, for the social studies project which allowed the students to gain an appreciation of other cultures.
The simulation gave the Grade 3 students the real-life experience of going through an airport and flying in a plane to another country.
Grade 3 teacher Mme. Tamalyn Tardif says the students have been studying specific cultural festivals and planning a trip around it.
“This was a simulation of them going to their event and coming back,” explained Tardif.
When the students “returned” from their trip, they showed the parents – who had gathered to volunteer to help the simulation run smoothly – all they had learned while away.
Each group even made a 10-day itinerary for their trip, based around a festival they planned to attend.
The students planned their flights and hotels, by pretending to book through websites like Trivago or Expedia. The planning of the trip brought great discussions by the groups, some of which even surprised the teachers.
Cara Belcher was shocked by the level of awareness some of the students had when planning their trip.
“We made passports for all the students to use, and one group realized the date of their festival was after the dates on their passport,” Belcher said.
Being aware of the dates on the passports sparked discussions on what they had to do to make sure they could travel.
The students were also very active in choosing where they wanted to stay in the country they were travelling to. Both Belcher and Tardif, along with the school’s other Grade 3 teacher Sherisse Gervais, said they were surprised by how in character each group was in their planning.
“You would hear them weigh the pros and cons of a hotel and try to figure out how many beds they would need,” said Tardif.
The project, which was new for the Grade 3 instructors, was a unique learning opportunity for both the students and the teachers. The teachers experienced a way of teaching through which they don’t always know what the next step is, which could be terrifying, according to Tardif.
Meanwhile, the students learned a new appreciation for other cultures and for their home.
“I have one girl who told me she had learned to appreciate other cultures and their beliefs,” said Tardif.
Belcher said the students also learned a lot about deadlines and how to work in a group.
“There are going to be bumps in the road, and each of them have learned how to overcome the obstacles and work together,” Belcher said.
The teachers are already looking forward to working on this project again next year.
Belcher said while organizing the flight simulation, they were already talking about what they could do different for next year.
“We would definitely do this again. Next year will be a whole different group of students and new experiences,” said Belcher.