If you encountered a bunch of middle school students Thursday on the streets of Delaware, they definitely were not skipping class.
Quite the opposite, the students from Shanahan Middle School in Lewis Center were engaged in a valuable educational exercise.
“This is our fifth year of our 701 Project-Based Learning team at SMS,” said Jaimie A. Thomas, the 701 Team Leader and science department chair at Shanahan Middle School. “Our team consists of 105 students. Through our core classes and while covering the required learning standards, our students explore five to six projects throughout the year that have a driving question. It’s the backbone to what we are exploring.
“Students collaborate consistently on our team and examine real world issues,” Thomas added. “They become masterful presenters and problem solvers. Our projects are much different from the projects that we completed in school.”
The students were assigned different demographic groups to interview. The demographics studied included young adults, families with young children, single parents, the elderly, and immigrants.
Target areas the students explored included the residential and business districts in Delaware as well as the Ohio Wesleyan University campus.
The Gazette caught up with some of the Shanahan students at Ohio Living Sarah Moore on North Union Street.
“Our students are investigating what makes Delaware an attractive place for a diverse group of people to live,” Thomas said. “They are here to investigate what the city has to offer, to examine the campus, and the residential districts through their demographic lens.”
Thomas said the group she was leading on Thursday was assigned to interview elderly people and families with young children.
“We’re looking for a way to make families with young children lives easier,” said student Nithya Kondagari. “It’s not just for people in need, but for everyone to make their lives better.”
Student Tyler Cailteux’s group interviewed the head of Ohio Living Sarah Moore.
“We’ve learned that the residents like to walk around and that there a couple people who do walks daily,” he said.
Cailteux said his group was also told that the center was in need of more nursing staff. He thought they just needed to hire more people.
Student Jayden Nguyen said he observed that the residents were allowed to roam around the city and they like to eat at Whit’s and other ice cream places. He also said the conditions inside the facility were “lovely.”
“Like my friend Tyler said, they do lack in the nurse department. So they do need to hire more people,” Nguyen said.
“The Sarah Moore retirement community has fresh food,” said student Kyle Wortman. “They have like steak and good food here.”
Thomas said the students will compile the information from their research and develop proposals that will benefit the demographic groups they were assigned to interview.
“Students design their presentations to pitch their idea for a business, service, recreational activity, event, monument, etc., and we choose the top four of 25 to present to our expert panel in October,” Thomas said. “We then discuss the factors that truly make Delaware a unique city for a diverse group. This is such an exciting experience for them and one they will remember.”