April 16, 2024
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WTA Eighth Graders Present Final Project

This year’s graduating class at WTA was first introduced to Summit Learning when they were in the fifth grade. This innovative computer learning platform has taught them to be independent and self-directed learners through the educational model of project-based learning. Project-based learning is an interactive way to learn. It allows students to break up large tasks into smaller pieces, and obtain the benefit of multiple outcomes. Guided by their curiosity, students are prompted to reflect on their learning and spend more time directing their own learning outcomes, while also mastering subject content. This creative approach to education leads to stronger retention of information, the development of multiple skills and the ability to apply them to a variety of topics.

For their culminating project at the end of their eighth grade year, students used these skills to build a life-sized outdoor chess board with equally sized chess pieces, to present as a gift to future generations of WTA students. This project, in lieu of traditional finals, included doing research in all subjects, and utilized critical thinking, teamwork and creativity.

In English, students researched the background of chess and its connection to literature, while in history, they learned about the history of chess and its relationship to the Jewish kings of Israel. In Judaic studies, they learned the laws related to kings and wars. And, for a modern Israeli perspective, they read Israeli newspapers to learn about kings from around the world who have visited Israel, their individual contributions and the significance of their visits.

Together with their teachers, students discovered which mathematical parameters to use, and calculated the measurements needed to create the chess board. In science, they researched what would be the most weatherproof and effective materials that would fit their budget. Finally, in the STEAM lab, the eighth graders designed and 3D-printed chess pieces to scale that would correctly fit the size of the board.

With great pride, the students presented the chess board to family and friends at their graduation on Monday night, June 13.

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