Oct 09

Are Your Students Worth Showing Off?

SPS is recruiting teachers and students who want to demonstrate the cool, hands-on, engaging lessons at this year’s Superintendent’s State of the Schools Learning Fair, set for Tuesday, Nov. 14.  The idea is for students to share with business leaders and community representatives some of the exciting lessons that happen in our classrooms every day.

The Superintendent’s office is looking for both classrooms to include in the videotape as well as student-teacher teams to lead demonstrations that day.  This year’s theme is “SPS Rewired,” and will focus on the following areas:

  • Setting Expectations … tiered system of support that teaches behavior expectations & modeling, mentoring programs, recognition efforts
  • Adopting Innovations … project-based learning, examples of teamwork & collaboration, examples of technology in the classroom
  • Strengthening Instruction … academic rigor, specialty programs, citizenship, college/career prep, STEM

If you have an idea that you think would be visual and active, that can be demonstrated to a guest in 5 minutes or less, then email Bethanne Bradshaw at bethannebradshaw@spsk12.net and tell her all about it.


To help you brainstorm, watch last year’s video and catch a glimpse into last year’s Learning Fair:

Here are the Learning Fair demonstrations we’ve had:
  • You’re Not My Type … Join future medical professionals in a phlebotomy lab to determine the blood types of samples.  Knowing a patient’s blood type is critical in emergency transfusions and organ transplants.  Certain blood types also have higher risks for certain diseases.  Discover how students in the Biomedical Sciences program put simulated blood to the test.
  • Clean Up Your Act … Save the Bay and help reduce the impact of a simulated oil spill in the James River.  Team up with students from Northern Shores Elementary School to predict and test which materialswould best capture and contain the oil spill.  Discover the impact of pollution on the health of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
  • Help!  I Can’t Swim … Rescue “Fred the gummy worm” from drowning.  He doesn’t swim and his boat has capsized with his life preserver under the boat. Students from Pioneer Elementary School will highlight their problem-solving skills and teamwork with limited resources in this STEM challenge.
    Manufacturing State-of-the-Art Workers … Solving design flaws just got easier and faster, thanks to 3D printers.  Students from Nansemond River High School turn their computer-generated designs using CAD software into three-dimensional models, using inexpensive 3D printers.
  • See You Around the Neighborhood … Test your knowledge of architectural styles.  Engineering program students created a whole neighborhood of model homes … 12-inch square models, that is.  Can you guess which is built in the style of Greek Revival, Prairie, International, Spanish Eclectic, Gothic Revival or Art Deco?
  • Unidentified Flying Objects? … Catch the enthusiasm of Tidewater Regional Governor’s School for Science & Technology students as they share their skills designing and flying unmanned aerial vehicles.  During the summer program, they worked with experts in this sky-high technology now emerging into every day uses. Interns will also perform “drone surgery” to repair crash victims.
  • Let’s Break Out of Here … Experience a new classroom ESCAPE game that gets kids thinking critically, problem-solving, trouble-shooting, working collaboratively and having so much fun they don’t realize how much they are using their brains! Join Forest Glen Middle School students as they look for clues to track down fugitive “Stickman” in South America.
  • Good Vibrations … Brass and woodwind instruments rely on resonance to create rich sounds that’s music to our ears.  Join King’s Fork High School students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics class to figure out the speed of sound using water, tubes and a tuning fork.  Listen as the vibrations amplify the sound.
  • Water, Water, Everywhere! … Create a rainbow with Creekside Elementary School students as they demonstrate a colorful “walking water” science experiment, which will test how changing a few variables impacts the rainbow.  Then shake it up with these third-graders to guess what’s thicker than water.
  • Fairy Tale Fun with Foil … Tap into your creativity with one of our Odyssey of the Mind teams. With just duct tape and aluminum foil, create costumes from your favorite fairy tale.  Then build a rope using common household items. Discover more about the Odyssey of the Mind competition program.
  • What’s the Code? … At Booker T. Washington Elementary and Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary, students put their science, technology, engineering and math skills to the test, creating mini-robots to roll across the top of their desks … and writing programming code on their computer desktops.
  • Some Things Just Don’t Mix … Dogs and cats … oil and water … needles and balloons.  Try to skewer an inflated balloon without popping it, and learn some chemistry and physics along the way.  Then try your hand at a fun engineering, bridge-building challenge led by Driver Elementary School students.
  • From Bags to Mats … Hooked any “plarn” today?  Learn how Nansemond River High School students turn recycled plastic grocery bags into plastic yarn to make crocheted sleep mats for the homeless. Students are learning a usable skill, developing civic responsibility, and demonstrating how to remake trash into a beneficial product.
  • Artfully Educated … Paint your own seasonal tree in the pointillism style of Vincent Van Gogh.  First-graders at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School are connecting the dots in reading, history, math and science while learning about the world’s greatest artists — Van Gogh, Monet, Da Vinci, and Picasso.
  • Selfie and Self-Reflection … Share your dreams, goals, and talents on a special selfie silhouette.  Creekside Elementary School students trace their full body outlines which become motivating self-portraits.  Over time, they add their interests, talents, goals, and plans for middle school, high school, college, and career.
  • Trash Talk? … No, it’s actually Trash Trek. Help students from Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School maneuver Lego robots through their tabletop town to collect, sort, recycle and reuse trash as part of an upcoming competition.
  • Family Engineering Night … The Big Bad Wolf challenges you to build a house to withstand his huffing and puffing, using only toothpicks, marshmallows, index cards and tape.  Hillpoint Elementary School students discover the fun in creating simple engineering projects.  Kids love to build, take things apart, and then put them back together again. When children do these things with their parents, the fun increases and so does the learning.
  • It’s a SnAPP … Have you ever played PacMan with PlayDoh? Created a mobile app?  Made your own computer animation or game?  Learn how middle school students from this summer’s Tidewater Regional Governor’s School for Science and Technology tackled these challenges and how the program impacts a new generation of innovators.
  • Out of This World … Take flight with local teachers and students who were immersed in the future of NASA’s exploration of Mars, thanks to a Northrop Grumman sponsoring their trip to Space Camp this summer. Explore NASA’s emphasis of gender equality in preparing future scientists, engineers, astronauts, and aviation experts.
  • Brain Drain … Does your mind play tricks on you?  Take a quick quiz with students from the International Baccalaureate Psychology class to learn if what you see is what you say, or if you brain makes automatic assumptions when reacting to new information.
  • Murder Mystery … Become a Crime Scene Investigator to figure out how the victim was killed.  Join students from the Biomedical Sciences program to discover blood spatter evidence and what it reveals about the murder weapon.
  • Weather or Not … If it’s a cloudy day, will your solar energy panels be able to power your hair dryer?  Can you rely on wind power to keep the electricity on in your house?  The SoWHy! Energy and Weather Station at John Yeates Middle School shows students how to live “off the grid.”  SoWHy! stands for Solar, Wind, Hydrogen. Students will show you how they design wind turbines for maximum efficiency, harness hydrogen power from water, and use solar energy to help run their school-based weather station.
  • New News… Remember how you dreaded those editing marks in red ink on your writing assignments?  Come see how today’s paperless technology still allows teacher input and peer collaboration as Forest Glen Middle School students brainstorm for ideas, create, write, edit, revise and publish their own classroom newspaper.
  • More than Just a Robot … Catch the enthusiasm of Nansemond River High School students as they show off their competition robot.  Students have six weeks to design, build, program, and market their robot in preparation for competitions against robotics teams from across the state. Problem-solving and team work shine as students use skills in math, physics, electronics, computer science, and drafting.
  • Word Surgery … What’s wrong with this “Word Patient”?  Help Kilby Shores Elementary School students “dissect” and “operate” on words that need fixing.  Kids use higher order processes and critical thinking skills to analyze word problems.

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