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Sundae School helps spark creative thinking

Krystle Wagner • Jun 27, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Throughout the week, Ottawa County students and educators are tackling questions.

Several groups of local elementary-age students are participating in the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District’s futurePREP’d program called Sundae School.

On Thursday, groups throughout the intermediate school district will present their ideas during the Sundae School Sampler.

Some students and educators are partnered with local ice cream businesses to do market research, develop a new sundae for the business and promote it. Other students are working to answer the driving question: “How can we encourage families to be more physically active during the winter months?” And design teams are considering ideas to encourage families to be more physically active during the winter.

Robinson Elementary School second-grade teacher Erin Shillinger said the students will work on developing 21st-century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. She said they hope the kids will learn how to build business relationships and also see career opportunities.

Since Monday, Shillinger and Danielle Bolthouse, a first-grade teacher at Peach Plains Elementary School, worked with students at Captain Custard in Grand Haven. The students started the week by asking customers what ice cream toppings they enjoy.

On Tuesday, students created samples of sundaes for people to taste-test. Some of the toppings included Balsamic vinegar, pretzels, marshmallows and potato chips.

As Dayton Russo, 7, made a sample, he added pieces of a doughnut, mint chocolate chips, piece of Oreos and gummy worms. Russo said he learned that making a sundae that appeals to a variety of people requires “a lot of practice.”

After testing the sundae samples, the public provided feedback on the appearance and taste. Students plan to use the feedback to help determine what toppings to include in their group’s sundae.

Although Kayla Shillinger said she was nervous about Sundae School because it was a new opportunity, the 6-year-old said she enjoyed interacting with people and finding out what toppings they like most.

Mary A. White Elementary School first-grade teacher Beth Ingall and Peach Plains second-grade teacher Beth Bolhuis are working with students to determine ways to get families active during the winter.

To get families active, students developed ideas and categorized them as “expected, crazy and breakthrough.”

Making snow gear easier to move in and waterproof was one of the ideas Savana Kram and Olivia Bolhuis discussed.

The idea of a portable outdoor obstacle course was the favorite of Lucy DeYoung and Frank Mulcahy, who said they liked that it can be taken anywhere. Mulcahy, 9, said another idea the group had was to make a trampoline that wouldn’t get wrecked by the snow.

As children participate in Sundae School, Bolthouse said she hopes they have fun.

“I love their enthusiasm about all of this,” she said.

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