Chagrin Falls PTO Donates KEVA Planks to Gurney Elementary STEM Classroom

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Gurney Elementary’s PTO recently granted STEM Teacher Kelly Purcell more than $800 to purchase two sets of KEVA Planks for her STEM room.

KEVA planks are about 1/4 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide and 4 1/2 inches long. Students build structures by simply stacking the planks. There is no glue and no connectors. They can be stacked upright which looks like it would be unstable as a house of cards, but even this type of structure is surprisingly stable. They inspire creativity, grow imaginations, and incorporate all the key components of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Kindergarten, first and second-grade students have been using KEVA Planks in various ways. “We began by introducing the planks with a seven-plank challenge where each student was given a specific item to build, but only had seven planks to do so; some were easy while others took some thought,” said Kelly Purcell, STEM teacher, Gurney Elementary. “Then we moved on to making bridges and marble runs in the older grades and kindergarten students used their engineering and teamwork skills to build cities.”

Up until this point in the STEM curriculum, only the third graders had a chance to build with physical blocks (they use VEX, which are similar to LEGO). “Having KEVA in our STEM room has opened up the creative doorway for younger students to build their ideas with blocks instead of having to create them out of recycled materials all the time. The way they work with small groups and the inspiration that comes from that is amazing,” said Purcell.

“Help @ Home” Helps Parents Navigate the Waters of Today’s Technology

“Parenting has never been harder than it is today,” said Mike Daugherty. “Every generation of parents has been faced with new challenges. Our society’s increased access to information, people, and technical devices is arguably the most daunting challenge to come along in a very long time.

Technology is constantly changing our world and most recently, our educational system. As a parent, supporting your student in the digital age can be stressful, problematic, and exhausting. It can even be difficult to find help especially when you don’t always know the right questions to ask.”

Last year, Daugherty became one of only 37 people chosen for the Google for Education Certified Innovator Program held in Washington D.C. As part of his Google Innovator Projects for this school year, he recently launched a new weekly email communication called Help @ Home. The goal of the Help @ Home project is to help parents become better connected with their student’s digital lives. Anyone can sign up to receive a weekly email with relevant information on modern-day parenting as it relates to technology, education, and Generation C. Some sample topics to be covered include: digital citizenship; security and privacy; trolls, hoaxes, and scams; filtering and monitoring technology use; and social media. Help @ Home seeks to teach parents how to become a resource for their student(s), instead of a roadblock.

Help @ Home is free and is available to anyone. While the project is currently being sponsored by the Chagrin Falls Exempted School District, community members do not have to have students in the district to sign up for this weekly communication. To sign up, go to Help @ Home.

Chagrin Falls Holds Tenth Annual “Turkey Trot” 5K

Chagrin Falls High School will be holding its 10th annual Turkey Trot on November 23rd at 10:00 a.m. This is an opportunity for families and people of all ages to take a 5K walk or run through Chagrin Falls.

The Chagrin Falls Booster Club organized the event in partnership with Winston Products, Lyndall Insurance, Arborwear, Peppertree Capital, Elk & Elk, Snap Fitness 24-7, Functional Building Supply, Superior Beverage Group, Cleveland Clinic, Second Sole, Dentistry at Winbury, Clemens Pantuso Architecture, Hilti, Chagrin Pet & Garden, Cleveland Indians, Gilbane, and Sweat X.

Participants may pre-register before November 1st for $25, register between November 1st and 20th for $30, and register after November 20th for $35. Registration includes a Tech t-shirt for the first 1,500 registered runners, chip timers, and age group prizes. Register at Chagrin Falls Turkey Trot.

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