Woodward Elementary School held its inaugural Turkey Race Friday morning complete with checkered flags, prizes, and lots of cheering.
Librarian Robyn Kress said she got the idea to have students design, build, and decorate paper turkeys to race down a zipline from the website Teachers Pay Teachers, and she thought it would be a fun STEM activity loosely tied into Thanksgiving.
Kress added students were given a variety of materials, including paper, paper plates, clothespins and paperclips, and they designed a turkey with a metal ring at the top that would be placed on a zipline and raced against other turkeys.
Many turkeys slid straight down the zipline toward the finish line, but a variety of turkeys never completed the journey, because they were too light to move down the incline or because they were so heavy the ring ripped through the paper.
Kress said third, fourth, and fifth grade students have been racing them since Thursday, and the races will conclude next week. She said she was so excited to see all of the cheering that took place during the race.
“I wanted them to think about ways to make their turkeys go faster and to have fun and experiment, and have a good time,” Kress said. “All these kids have been so excited for each other and have been cheering each other and haven’t been upset about losing.”
Kress said the activity teaches students about physics and about experimentation.
“It was fun last week watching them test them and go back to the drawing board to make their turkeys go faster,” she said. “Some people’s gravity is their biggest enemy.”
One student with no difficulty was Anthony Koloff, a fifth grader, who won the grand prize Friday morning after his turkey, Bob, went undefeated in the races.
“I was nervous that I was going to lose,” Koloff said after the race. “I built him in a day.”
Koloff added he had fun during the race and learned about friendly competition.
“I learned that it doesn’t matter if you win as long as you have fun,” he said.
Likewise, Mady Hazer, another fifth grader, said she didn’t mind losing in the race.
“I got to play and have fun,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you win. Having fun matters. (My turkey) was floppy and not going fast enough.”
One of the most interesting looking turkeys belonged to Tori Waddell, a fifth grader. It was covered in clothespins, office clips, and had two cups filled with paper clips.
“It’s very detailed,” Waddell said. “It is a very happy turkey.”
Waddell added she’s racing Monday, and she’s not sure how things will turn out.
“I’m worried I’m going to break the rope when it goes on,” she said.
Kress said the last race will take place Monday, and she plans to make the race an annual event.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.