10/01/04 — Spring Creek students use math to make 'airball tower'

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Spring Creek students use math to make 'airball tower'

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 1, 2004 2:00 PM

A building project by students in Annette McCullough's classes at Spring Creek High School travels to Greenville today, where it will be on display throughout the holiday season at the Toys R Us store.

Ms. McCullough, agriculture biotechnology teacher at the school, said about 70 students in her six classes of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders spent a week constructing the five-and-one-half-foot "airball tower."

SCHS Math Project

News-Argus/Phyllis Moore

Annette McCullough, agriculture biotechnology teacher at Spring Creek High School, right foreground, demonstrates how the K'NEX airball tower works with her sixth-grade class. Standing at left is student Erika Roe.

She said she ordered the materials and plans for the project from K'NEX, an educational building materials company. The project was designed as a curriculum exercise.

"It used their math skills, technology and introduced building concepts to the students," she said. It also helped build on critical thinking skills, problem-solving and teamwork, she said.

The model contains 11 sections and was constructed by a separate assembly line process.

"One class may have started one section and the other classes picked up on it and worked some more," she said of the project that took a week to complete.

An "airball" is propelled through a maze of pipes. The model is activated by a switch and is battery-operated.

K'NEX and Toys R Us joined forces in September to bring the "Building School Pride" program to almost 400 schools nationwide. Its goal was to encourage teamwork and school pride as well as enhance math, science and technology skills.

"This was a classroom teaching tool," Ms. McCullough said. As a bonus, the students "had a sense of pride in that they put it together."

Ms. McCullough said she would dismantle the model today in order to transport it to Greenville, where it will be prominently featured in the Toys R Us store for the next few months. The school will also receive another kit from K'NEX for the students' next building project.