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    By Todd Martin

    Fifth-graders in two Killeen ISD elementary schools presented projects this week aimed at worldwide social issues.

    Iduma Elementary School and Peebles Elementary School use the elementary component of the International Baccalaureate Program. The Primary Years Program concludes with exhibition projects encompassing the elementary years.

    “This is culmination from pre-kindergarten,” said Iduma fifth-grade teacher Monica Canfield. “All their teachers have touched their lives. Students have learned key concepts and trans-disciplinary themes. They have found their passion.”

    The 170 fifth-graders at Iduma chose a subject they were passionate about and worked in groups with three mentoring teachers to research and come up with action to address the topic.

    On Wednesday at Iduma and Friday at Peebles, students presented their work to peers, younger students, teachers, parents and guests.

    “Today, we can watch them come together with different ideas and different backgrounds and find their voice,” Canfield said. “They can tell you how they want to change the world.”

    Iduma fifth-grader Jadyn Kaaloa worked with a group on the topic of cultural diversity in education. He said his group discovered significant differences in learning styles across different parts of the United States among different people groups.

    “I like that I get to learn and to build knowledge in the world,” he said.

    Iduma fifth-grader Alexandria Hanson worked with a group addressing ways to help the poor. Her group developed a web site encouraging donations.

    The group members learned about varying laws designed to protect the vulnerable and ways to volunteer and give. “I know I have a lot and many people don’t,” she said. “I feel better about myself when I help others.”

    Another group at Iduma studied the development of video games, including rating systems and how games affect users.

    Fifth-grader Jalen Cookson showed in the research project how the video game craze started with something called the Nimatron in 1940 and developed to today’s games.

    Eneida Saucedo, coordinator of the IB Primary Years Program at Iduma, said the projects addressed the overarching theme “Sharing the Planet,” supporting a huge assortment of environmental and social topics.

    “They learn the research process and gain awareness of their topics,” she said. “They are able to bring their awareness to the community and to provide an action piece. We hope this is something they continue through life.”

    PEEBLES ELEMENTARY

    At Peebles, fifth-graders explored “How We Express Ourselves” using various forms of art.

    Students conducted research and presented their findings on topics like homelessness, child abuse, global warming, ocean pollution and depression.

    One project featured cartoon drawings showing an episode of bullying ending with someone standing up for the victim. Another group used colorful paintings and magazine cutouts to show the effects of terrorism and the potential benefits of tolerating different beliefs.

    Fifth-grader Jun Park built foil sculptures of children on a playground to illustrate his report called “Too Many Video Games,” showing the value of playing outside with friends.

    The students researched their topic and a form of art, teacher Wendy Flores said. They hoped, with their projects, to have an impact on viewers’ perspectives.

    “Some of them experienced what artists go through. Sometimes it doesn’t come out the way they planned. They see they are capable,” she said.

    “We are proud of them,” Flores said. “They are learning about themselves. They experience frustration and work through it and they learn to collaborate together in groups.”

    May 19, 2017