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Walnut valley Unified School District

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Bright Ideas

NEWS                                                                                   Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            880 S. Lemon Avenue
February 19, 2013                                                              Walnut, CA 91789

Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204

Bright Ideas
Collegewood Elementary 4th Graders Build Electric City

WALNUT, CA—Collegewood Elementary fourth graders learned how to make an Electric City using empty cereal boxes, holiday lights, 9-volt batteries, and tape during a special presentation on February 15.

The youngsters had the help of their teachers, and guest science consultant Maureen Allen from the Orange County Office of Education, on the project that concluded a recent science electric unit of study.

“This hands-on 21st century science lesson provides the application and relevance to all the students have learned in this electricity unit of instruction.  Students are learning the literacy of engineering and thinking about ways in which they might use what they have learned in real world scenarios,” said Principal Joan Perez.

During January and February, students explored open and closed circuits, a series of parallel circuits, conductors, and insulators.

“This project is a culmination of everything we’ve learned,” said fourth grade teacher Scott Jones.

After Mrs. Allen’s presentation in the school’s multipurpose room, students and teachers went back to their classes to continue building their miniature cardboard cities.

Each student began constructing their own building by cutting windows and doors in an empty cereal box opened up at the seams.

Then the elementary engineers learned how to splice wires to install tiny holiday lights on a battery-powered switch so they could turn the lights off and on.

After the 29 buildings are complete they will be assembled in a special area in the class,” explained teacher Therapi Kaplan.

“Our kids will create a road down the street lined with street lights made from pencils wrapped with lights.  We also have to come up with a name for our city and decide where it is,” the fourth grade teacher added.

“When it’s done, they’ll decorate their buildings into whatever they want,” said 5th grade teacher Linda Freedman.

The Walnut school’s fifth grade teachers were on hand to help out during the project and to learn the information for their own students.

Sharon Suarez, age 9, said she planned on designing a house with people’s faces showing through the windows.

Mishabell Rubio, age 9, said she was planning to design a restaurant – "a really fancy one.”

Anaya Marquez built a pet shop with lots of dogs (her favorite), cats, fish, and rabbits for the city. She even put curtains in her windows and planned to decorate the building pink and blue.  

“It was sorta hard,” she said.

“The kids are the important thing and they did a great job,” said presenter Maureen Allen. In the morning, she presented review of circuitry and showed the students how to build their own Electric City.

“They are really turning into scientists. Isn’t that cool!” she said. Allen said she was impressed with the collegiality between the grade levels.

“The school blended staff development into helping one another and preparing kids for the 5th grade,” she said.


Sharon Suarez, age 9, proudly shows her building with the lights turned on. 

Collegewood fourth graders worked on their buildings for an electric city on February 15. Sharon Suarez, Angeline Widjono, and James Lin collaborate while installing the wiring on their cereal boxes. 

Students chatted and helped each other during the innovative project. Shown Julien Martinez and Morgan Henderson. 

Teacher Therapi Kaplan helped students install the light switches on their cereal boxes.  Shown with Mishabell Rubio and Angeline Widjono. 

Edward Garcia showed his working lights on his building that would soon be decorated as a hotel. 

Anaya Marquez shows off the working lights on her pet shop for the Electric City. 

Fourth grade teacher Scott Jones helps students install wiring for their Electric City project. 

Presenter Maureen Allen visited the classrooms offering tips for success to Collegewood Elementary fourth grade students.