Helen Morgan students complete bridge project

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:00

    sparta - The SEED (Sparta Educational Enrichment Development) program at Sparta Township public schools provides enrichment to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students in fourth and fifth grade who are identified as gifted/high academic achievers receive a full day of enrichment classes once a week from the enrichment teacher, Morgan Bleakley. The Helen Morgan SEED class of 2004-2005 recently completed their Bulldog Bridge project by holding an opening ceremony at the schoo. Students, parents and administrators were invited to the ceremony, where the bridge engineers described the project, served refreshments, and escorted guests across the new bridge. “We invited you here today because we wanted to show you the bridge we built,” said student Niko Salvatoriello. “Last year, the SEED class went on the school’s nature trail. On the nature trail we discovered that we could not cross the path because of a stream that runs across the nature trail. We decided to build a bridge.” Student David Chiariello described the studying necessary to learn how to make the bridge. “One part of our studying was going online to learn about forces that effect bridges ... Using that knowledge, we created a sturdy bridge. Another site showed us about types of bridges,” he continued, including suspension, beam, truss, and arch. “We used that to choose our type of bridge.” “We studied bridges by constructing our own out of ‘K’NEX,’” explained Tyler Roy. “We had a lot of fun doing it.” However, he added, “The bridges were harder to build then I thought they would be. They were very complicated.” Nicole Rotyliano spoke of how the students obtained an estimate for the cost of lumber, then wrote to the PTO, asking them to cover the amount: $63.60. “A few days later we got a reply, Yes! They donated the money.” Megan Casey described the next step, a field trip to the high school, where the students built the bridge, with the help of the wood-shop teacher and a few of the students in his class. “They sawed most of the wood, but we measured the lines to cut. After that we started to drill. It was kind of hard because you had to press down really hard on the drill ...I really like the part where we got to drill. I also liked measuring the wood.” A couple of days later, said Megan, “Mr. Trzinski and some of his students came with the bridge. It took a little while to get the bridge in the right place. Then we took some pictures ...and all stood on it to make sure it could hold a lot of weight. That is how we built our bridge.” “After we built the bridge we decided to have a bridge-naming contest,” added Rani Hamade. “The whole school voted on the bridge name they wanted. We hand counted all the ballets. The ‘Bulldog Bridge’ won!” “Now,” added Neale Donovan, “no one will need to jump across the stream and get wet again. You can go on the whole nature trail without the risk of getting wet. I think our bridge has helped the nature trail and the school a lot.” Kindergarten through third-grade students in the SEED program receive enrichment in their classroom through the use of a differentiated curriculum. All fourth-grade students receive bimonthly enrichment lessons from the enrichment teacher, Morgan Bleakley.