Bush School 4th Graders Create Gingerbread City

Bush Elementary School fourth grade students in Tari Geisler’s class recently learned more about:  government at the city level, mathematics, map-making and art, by designing and constructing an entire gingerbread city. The project helped accelerate students’ math skills by providing a hands-on activity to emphasize math principles learned in class. It also gave students an opportunity to understand simple democratic principles such as veto, majority and elective procedure.

Students held regular “town” meetings run by co-mayors, Ben Anderson and Madison Arthurs, who were elected by class majority. Two student secretaries, Hannah Grey and Jillian Rea, recorded and documented the results of the meetings and wrote notes to parents for permission to remain after school to help build the gingerbread city.

City accountant Cayden Frasier and architect Annika Spitzer reviewed building plans for accuracy in construction and the amount of materials needed for each building. Students proposed their individual building plans, including a 3-D model, and the amount of square graham crackers needed for construction. The class voted ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on individual building plans.

The gingerbread city also had a public relations department, Mia Brown and Cayden Frasier, who helped promote the project and co-chiefs of police, Marissa Fiorella and Dylan Nilson, who were responsible for hiring police officers to help keep the gingerbread city safe from fellow students who might be hungry. 

Students used mathematic applications such as area and perimeter.  They constructed models using cubes, cylinders and rectangular and triangular prisms.  Students also estimated the total number of graham crackers and the cost for building the whole town prior to purchasing their supplies.  Subtraction and addition were applied when windows were cut out and porches added.  Students created maps to learn about direction and location and demonstrated their creativity using a variety of edible treats to decorate their city.

“I like this project because it allows individuals to become leaders and for students to work cooperatively together,” said Mrs. Geisler. “It is a real-life community done within a classroom. “

posted on 01/06/2014 - filed under: Academics, Art, Elementary School, Spotlight, Students, teachers