Middle-school students focus on ‘MEDIA’ project

Students in Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School’s Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) class are finishing up their projects to be presented in the National EAST Partnership Conference in Arkansas next month.

Facilitator for the program Leah Aiwohi said the students started preparing their projects back in October and will be finishing up the projects at the end of this month.

“They’re pretty much almost finished with their work,” she said. “They all had to do research that goes along with the subject they chose.” At the conference, each grade level group will have a booth to showcase their projects and will have to explain them to judges. They will be evaluated based on seven different criterion.

Their competencies of taking responsibility for self-directed learning, ethically applying resources and problem-solving strategies to real world problems, collaborating as a productive team member, researching and evaluating resources to determine their validity and relevance, communicating with a variety of audiences through multiple mediums, developing solutions to community-based problems and demonstrating confidence in their abilities to meet present-day challenges will all be judged.

This year, EAST members from the school are in the running for the annual Founder’s Award, given out for a school’s community involvement. This award will be given out based on how the students communicate their message and the interaction with the community.

“Each grade level is working on something different. The sixth-graders are working on a GPS (Global Positioning System) student tracking system for special education students. The seventh-graders are working on the MEDIA (Misused Electronics Do Injustices to Adolescents) project where they research the influences movies and video games have on kids, and the eighth-graders are expanding on a project on natural disasters,” Aiwohi said.

“It’s all student-directed projects.

They set their own timelines and choose their own topics and pull everything together. My task is to help them manage their projects,” she said.

With the sixth-graders’ GPS student tracking system project, they hope to work with the Department of Education on a way to better keep track of the special education students.

“Because there is such a need to keep track of the special needs kids, it’s hard to provide one-on-one monitoring of them. (In this plan) maybe there will be another solution that will be more sufficient,” Aiwohi said.

The seventh-graders conducted surveys within the school to see what kids watch and the games they play and how those mediums influence the way they behave.

“This is a sophisticated and mature topic for seventh-graders,” Aiwohi said. “For this project they want to try to build awareness and inform adults of what their children are playing and have a more positive influence on them.” The eighth-graders in the program are building onto a project they started when they were seventh graders.

“The eighth-graders did a project on disaster preparedness last year, but with all the weather and natural disasters that continue to occur, they figured their information would be helpful if they expanded on it,” Aiwohi said. “So they’ve continued to build on that.” As a whole, members of EAST in all three grades collaborated to create a Kaua‘i-centered board game “Kauaiopoly,” the island’s take on the popular board game “Monopoly.” They will also present this at the conference.

“This was a group project, so it shows a lot of involvement with community groups. They’ve solicited all the businesses on the board game,” said Aiwohi.

The students from all three grade levels will finish up their projects at the end of this month, to finalize all preparations for the conference in Arkansas.

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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