Ask any elementary school teacher and they will tell you that the last week of school can be a little bit chaotic. The fifth- and sixth-grade classes at Pine Lane Elementary are no exception, but on May 31 they turned pandemonium into a chance to do …
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Ask any elementary school teacher and they will tell you that the last week of school can be a little bit chaotic. The fifth- and sixth-grade classes at Pine Lane Elementary are no exception, but on May 31 they turned pandemonium into a chance to do some good.The classes, part of Pine Lane's Discovery program for gifted children, held their second annual Planet Protectors Carnival, three days before the end of the school year. As excited as they were to be free of tardy bells and homework, the students were just as enthusiastic about raising money to address global problems such as pollution, endangered animals and hunger.“Creativity and collaboration for the greater good, it's a beautiful thing,” said Margaret Condron, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher in the Discovery Program.All of the games were designed, built and tested by 42 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders in the Discover program. Condron said they did extensive research on the causes they selected as well.And they did it as a team.“I'm so impressed with the creativity and the collaboration, the way they worked together,” Condron said. “The kids made it all from scratch.”The idea for the event came from the fifth and sixth grade led by Stephanie Kawamura last year. Kawamura and her students were studying earth science when they identified issues that affected the environment such as overfishing. Kawamura and her students combined the lesson with what they were learning about probability and statistics and decided to host a carnival to take their problem solving to a higher level.Approximately 550 students throughout the school were invited to purchase tickets for 25 cents apiece to play the games with all of the proceeds going to a selection of nonprofit groups. Ultimately, the tickets added up to a total of $1,100 that will be distributed to the Ecuador Earthquake Recovery Fund, the World Wildlife Fund, Stop Hunger Now, Feed My Starving Children, the ASPCA and 5 Gyres, a group that works to clean up pollution in the world's oceans.Eleven-year-old sixth-grader Isabella Schneider and her team's campaign is designed to help the Przewalski horse and Bengal tiger, both of which are endangered. Schneider volunteers with the World Wildlife Fund, which guided her choice of nonprofits to contribute to.“I am kind of biased because I work for them,” she said. Schneider said students conducted research, wrote an essay and created a video in addition to participating in the fun and games.“Starving children is a problem in our world,” said Kassandra Elliott, an 11-year-old sixth-grader. “I hope to make a change.”Elliott helped design the game “Flying Dice,” wherein dice and a numbered spinner are used together to award the player a specific number of erasers or Starburst candies. Elliott said her charity of choice is Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit that spends over 90 percent of its funds on food for impoverished children in more than 70 countries around the world. Elliott also volunteers for the group in her spare time.“I think it's really fun, I really enjoy the looks on the kids' faces when they win prizes and stuff,” said Elliott.Xavier Pena, 11, didn't have a preference for which nonprofit received the most funds from the carnival and he didn't enjoy seeing players win either.“I like seeing people fail,” he said. His words sound harsh, but his reasoning is shrewdly generous in a way only a fifth-grader could be.“Then they want to keep doing it so they spend more tickets and it sets off a chain reaction to make our world a better place.”
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