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First Annual Roscoe Collegiate Secondary Project Fair

May 21, 2014

Roscoe Quilt Project

Roscoe held the First Annual Roscoe Collegiate Secondary Project Fair the evening of April 29, 2014. It seemed that every parent, teacher, and school administrator turned out to see the students' projects and hear their presentations. Jacob Tiemann, the Early College High School Director, said that the Project Fair is a "great marketing tool" and that "parents will be talking about this for a while."

Superintendent Kim Alexander said the Project Fair has three goals:

  1. We want students to learn how to work together to investigate (research) an area of interest relevant to his or her career path and learn to report the findings in a persuasive fashion to an audience and enter the information into the electronic portfolio (building a vita).
  2. We wants students to develop relationships with folks in higher education who will be serving as external members of their research committees to make a seamless transition from Roscoe to WTC to 4 year institution.
  3. We want parents to become more engaged in the work of their children through the creation of venues such as the project fair that will draw parents into the school.

The Project Fair started with a gallery walk, and I stopped to talk with Dan Boren, whose students Cassie Chavira, Heather Hill, Erick Huiboro, Javier Leaños, and Armando Renteria later made a presentation about their quilt project.

Mr. Boren said he searched for a geometry project for his students that would form a connection with the Roscoe community. Naturally, he thought of quilting. As strange as it sounds, quilting provides a very hands-on method of learning to take precise measurements, scale a drawing, use distance and midpoint formulas, calculate yardage, and determine how to minimize fabric waste, for example.

And Mr. Boren found quilters in Roscoe who were willing to teach the students about quilting. The students located a design, cut out pieces, pinned them to create the pattern, and learned to use a sewing machine and an iron to create precise seams. The experienced quilters shared their knowledge and took over the more difficult parts of sewing.

After three months, the students had a beautiful Texas treasurers quilt. The experienced quilters were impressed with the students' dedication to the craft; Mr. Boren said the students made only four mistakes, which made their work "approximately 99% accurate."

The quilt was put up for auction; some of the proceeds from the sale were used to pay for the supplies, and the rest went to Roscoe's robotics team.

As Jacob Tiemann said, "The project fair helps to build the STEM culture both with students and parents." The quilt was only one of the projects we saw at the Project Fair. All the students we talked to were knowledgeable and articulate, collaborated to create great products, and learned skills and expertise that will stand them in great stead in both college and career.

 

Contributed by Debra Nash, Associate Director, Texas Tech T-STEM Center, Lubbock, TX