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Edgewater fourth-graders present projects
Teacher Tim Kelly encourages learning by teaching
A posterboard, peppered with pictures of Steve Jobs, was propped behind 9-year-old Dominick Tabajdi as he explained his reasons for picking the well-known visionary as the focal point of his research project.
"He invented my favorite thing, which is this," Dominick said, pointing to a picture of an iPhone.
Fourth-graders took on the role of teachers Tuesday as students at Edgewater Elementary School dressed up and delivered presentations about famous scientists and inventions to a room full of their peers.
Kids went beyond the project's basic requirements and built displays that could rival that of a college student, said fourth-grade teacher Tim Kelly.
For example, 9-year-old Alexis Vanga built a replica of an old rotary dial phone out of wood from her back yard in two days. The prop, made with the help of her mom and aunt, was used to show students in other classes what early inventions of Alexander Graham Bell looked like.
"If it weren't for him making the telephone, we'd be sending messages by foot and by birds," Alexis said.
Kelly said this is the first year students partook in the "Famous Scientist, Invention and Discoveries Research Project," an assignment designed to involve parents and excite youths by using a number of different learning styles.
Having the kids present their own projects to a room full of 50 or 60 students, ranging from first to sixth grades, is another important part of the learning process, he said.
"I've always said if you want to learn something well, teach it," Kelly said.
Taylor King, 9, chose to teach other students about Jane Goodall, the researcher who lived with chimpanzees.
Taylor held a toy chimpanzee — reminiscent of one Goodall received from her father — as she talked about the ground-breaking scientist.
"She never let go of her dream," Taylor said.
After working on the project and studying primate behavior, Taylor said she wished she had her own chimpanzee. However, she knows that's not possible.
"I can't," she said of having a pet chimp. "My parents would get mad."
Taylor's classmate, 9-year-old Diego Herrejon, said he took four days to finish his project about electricity.
Diego worked with his dad to build an experiment that consisted of wiring two Duracell batteries to a light bulb. The experience learning about electricity with his dad is one he thinks will help him become a successful scientist and artist one day.
"A lot of people liked it, and I felt pretty confident." Diego said after presenting his project. "But I was still nervous."