Fifth Graders at Oak Grove Elementary have just finished working with Global partners in Nicaragua, Argentina, and Honduras through a Global Inventors Course run by Level Up Village.  In this course, students exchanged video messages with their partners and collaborated on designing the case for a solar flashlight using CAD software and a 3D printer.  They also learned about the difference between electricity production in the United States as compared to their partner’s country and discussed renewable and non-renewable resources.  Best of all, students made a global friend, and shared aspects of their lives with them, and learned a lot about a different country in a very personal way.

As an ITRT teaming this project with the classroom teacher, I can definitely say it was one of the best projects I’ve helped facilitate over the 20 years I’ve been an educator.  The organic learning that took place could have never have happened just by studying these topics in isolation.  By adding in the personal component of having a relationship with someone in a completely different country, our students made connections, realizations, and developed understanding and empathy that could not have been taught otherwise.  The personal growth I’ve seen in our students over the past eight weeks has been extraordinary, and I’m so proud of them and so grateful for the chance to be part of it.   Below are some pictures and video showing highlights from the program.

Spanish students from Cave Spring High School visited our students to teach them basic Spanish so they could use it in their videos.  The CSHS students planned the lessons, created handouts, and developed Quizlet games for our students to use to help them learn Spanish.

Students sending video messages to their partners through the Level Up Village platform.

Students first designed nametags to learn the Tinkercad software.  Each student received a 3D printed nametag that they had designed.

Students working in Tinkercad to Design their solar flashlight cases.  They send the design files back and forth to their partner until both were satisfied with the product.

At the end of the project, we had the added bonus of being able to Skype live with our partners.  While this doesn’t always happen, we were lucky enough to be in similar time zones as our partners so were able to work out this experience.

You can read more about the project on the Level Up Village Blog and in this article in The Roanoke Times or read from the perspective of the students on their classblogs.

Block 1 – Argentina
Block 2 – Nicaragua
Block 3 – Nicaragua
Block 4 – Honduras

A few of my favorite quotes from the kids:”It was really hard and it took really long to finish.But the thing to focus on is we might be changing someone’s life here so it was worth it.”

“It was a really fun project.In fact it was the best project I have ever done in school.”.

“People say that it was hard but to me it wasn’t if you put the right stuff down you would be amazed at what you created. I hope that in the next grade we do something like this.”

…now that we are done I look back at this project and say that was probably one of the funnest projects I have ever done, even though it was crazy, long and fun it was a nice one.”

“Some kids from the High School came and taught us a little bit of Spanish so we could understand our partners a little bit better.I’m really surprised on how many words I got right!”

“I think that a HUGE difference between Genesis and me is our surroundings. I mean, like, the U.S. has constant electricity, fast food, malls, electronics, almost anything you can ask for! Look at Honduras, well, you kind of realize how lucky you are and how grateful you should be.”

“My final view of the project is that it is very fun and I loved skyping with my partners from Honduras but I’m kinda sad because I really loved coming to the computer lab every day and designing my solar flash light this project has been so much fun.”

“This project has been very enjoyable. We’re able to make a difference in the world. It may not be a big change, but if each person would pitch in we could change the world little by little and soon almost everything will be great.”