Fifth-graders from Northside gathered around a presentation station in the library last week trying to gauge how far pumpkins chunked by Rancho Isabella fifth graders made it on down a taped line on the carpet.
As the pom-pom pumpkins were launched, students at Rancho cheered for their friends while the others across the screen stayed quiet and focused on whether they thought the hand-made catapult would send the pumpkin as far.
The excitement was part of the district’s first Fifth-grade Pumpkin Chunkin’ Challenge that pitted all fifth-graders in the district against each other in a friendly competition. At each school, teams prepared catapults to launch the tiny pumpkins and studied force and motion to learn the best way to engineer their catapult.
The lessons incorporated all aspects of STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — curriculum to get students thinking creatively to solve the problem of sending the pumpkin the farthest.
To bring all of the schools together, teachers then worked with the Digital Learning department to live-steam the classes on one feed using Google Hangouts. Each campus took a turn being broadcasted as they tested each team’s catapult.
“I think it was just an interesting way to connect the campuses while having a little friendly competition,” Digital Learning Coordinator Andrew Hamilton said. “The teachers reached out to us to see if it was possible and we made sure we could make it happen for them. It was kind of like being in five places at once.”