Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 21, 2014

Primary students build model community


MT. VERNON — — Third grade students in Shelly Brose's class at the Primary Center recently took part in a special project to construct a model “classroom community.”

This community — featuring miniature hospitals, a courthouse, a post office, restaurants, a fire station and more — was on full display Thursday as the students got a chance to show off their buildings to other classes at the Primary Center.

The project was the brainchild of Brose's student teacher Emily VanHoorebeke, a student at Southern Illinois University.

As part of the effort, VanHoorebeke asked Brose's students each to construct a model building for the classroom community.

VanHoorebeke said the goal of the project was to teach students about the physical characteristics of a community, as well as issues like adapting to the environment and comparing communities.

It builds a sense of community,” VanHoorebeke said. “It shows them how important a community is and how they can play a part in their community.”

Letters were sent home with Brose's students, asking parents to help their children with the project.

Students were encouraged to construct their model buildings out of “beautiful junk” such as milk cartons, shoe boxes, paper towel rolls, tissue paper, twigs, construction paper, rocks, sand, toothpicks and more.

The final products were then graded on “details, organization, neatness and creativity,” VanHoorebeke said.

They had to give me details and if it depicts the true look of a building,” VanHoorebeke said. “I didn't want to really give them too much instruction on this. I wanted them to take it and create it, so this is really all their (own).”

Third grader Kieran White, 8, built a hospital and doctor's office for the project. He constructed the models out of cardboard and red-and-white colored paper.

I just like hospitals,” White said.

During Thursday's presentation of the classroom community, students were asked to talk about their building and how it “gives back to the community.”

Also, other classes came to Brose's room to tour the community, including teacher Katie Baumhoegger's third grade class.

Baumhoegger said the classroom community was a great idea to teach students about a multitude of issues.

Them working as a community and how everything fits together, I think that's really neat,” Baumhoegger said.

VanHoorebeke said the communities project helped fulfill her curriculum requirements at SIU.

She and Brose agreed on the project because they wanted to expose the students to more social studies topics.

Mrs. Brose and I decided that social studies would be a way to go since they don't really know a whole lot about social studies yet,” VanHoorebeke said.

Brose's third grade class has 25 students.