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Wheels Turn for District Five students at Leaphart Elementary’s annual Engineering Conference

IRMO, SC - Over 400 elementary and high school students from District Five put their minds to work at Leaphart Elementary School’s sixth annual LEAP into Thinking Through Engineering Conference on January 24. Students from Leaphart Elementary, Harbison West Elementary, Irmo Elementary and Oak Pointe Elementary rotated between 13 different learning stations that were hosted by students from Chapin High, Dutch Fork High, Irmo High and Spring Hill High School.

“This is such a wonderful day for Leaphart Elementary to welcome students from across District Five and teach them about what happens here in our magnet program that is combined with creativity, innovation and design-process,” said Leaphart Elementary Lead Teacher and Magnet Director Denise Collins-Bennett. “The majority of our sessions are technology-based engineering and we want to show our students as well as others here the science they have learned and how it can be applied into every day life.”

Students put their brains to work as they took part in numerous challenges during the sessions. Some of those featured were: the science of a hovercraft, dash robots, pet rescue and designing, constructing and building. Fifth grade student Amir Harmon was blown away by all of the many projects he and other classmates got to experience. “This is such a really cool day being able to learn about things we can invent in the future,” Harmon said. “It is neat to have high school students come into help us make our projects come to life.”

Leaphart’s magnet program LEAP (Leaphart Engineering Arts Program) offers school-wide engineering studies to students. Engineering is not what teachers and students do; it is the method for how teachers and students approach teaching and learning. Engineering concepts are interwoven into all subject areas through the LEAP Design Process. Students are engaged in collaborative, hands-on learning experiences such as this annual conference. Collins-Bennett was thrilled to see how far along the conference has come in six years saying, “It is really exciting to see that so many people are interested in the idea of an engineering conference and to have them come share their expertise with them.”

Principal at Leaphart Elementary School Kelly Brown discussed how special it is for other students in District Five to give back. “I’m often reminded of the phrase we hear often in the district: one system, one voice, one message. This really showcases to the students and staff that we are one system and that we want the foundation that we are building here in the elementary school to channel all the way up to the high school. This is great for our students to know that their interests can develop as they grow up in this district and that we are streamlining those interests from kindergarten through 12th grade.”


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