Seventh-graders donate medieval exhibits to KidZone | SierraSun.com
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Seventh-graders donate medieval exhibits to KidZone

Seventh-grade students from Sierra Expeditionary Learning School work on exhibit materials in December.

The Fairy tale-themed play area at KidZone is composed of a theater, multi-level castle, play market and explorer ship. Evoking scenes from famous whimsical stories, children are encouraged to learn through creative play and discovery.

As with all exhibits at KidZone, the museum relies heavily on community support to build and design exhibits, which are typically on display for 36 months. Within those three years, content is renewed every year to keep the learning fresh and engaging for families.

A key contributor to the latest round of exhibit updates is the seventh grade crew from Sierra Expeditionary Learning School (SELS). Students have been studying Medieval Europe as part of a two-month-long expedition and wanted to find a way to apply what they've learned to benefit the local community.

Finding connection between their curriculum and what was already on display at KidZone, students decided to create exhibits that compliment both Medieval Europe and the Fairytale theme already prevalent.

“Most of these students played at the KidZone Museum when they were 3 or 5 years old. Their enthusiasm to help create exhibits for young children was infectious”-Carol MeagherExecutive Director at KidZone

"Most of these students played at the KidZone Museum when they were 3 or 5 years old. Their enthusiasm to help create exhibits for young children was infectious," said museum executive director Carol Meagher. "The detail and thoughtfulness in the work they created is impressive."

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Finding service learning projects that are authentic is a large component of SELS curriculum, not only through classroom time commitments but also fundraising efforts.

Giving back to local and regional communities help students connect learning to what is meaningful in their lives; this effort for KidZone was fully funded by money collected from seventh-graders.

"Students were very committed to the success of this project," explained Zach Williams, seventh-grade teacher. "We toured the museum and met with the exhibits committee to discuss criteria for each exhibit. Then, students researched ways to apply modality, ensuring it was educational for kids. Seventh-graders were intentional about integrating fine and gross motor skills, creativity, and social emotional development into their work."

You can see the work of SELS students at the KidZone Museum, 11711 Donner Pass Road in Truckee. For more information go to http://www.kidzonemuseum.org.

This article was provided by Sierra Expeditionary Learning School, a K-8 public charter within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Visit http://www.truckeecharterschool.org to learn more.