Language arts class inspires students

King Elementary students learn to make a difference through hunger awareness project

At King Elementary School, a project-based learning initiative to raise awareness about hunger has unleashed an infectious and creative energy. Grade five students learned how they can make a difference in the community.

In a language arts lesson on problem and solution models, Laverne McDowell, a fifth-grade teacher, introduced her students to information about what food insecurity is and its impact on families. This piqued the students’ interest and inspired them to dig deeper.

“The students worked on the project for a long time. They spent weeks analyzing data on hunger in Prince William County and Virginia. They met and collaborated on how to get involved and get the word out to our school community, McDowell shared.

Using information from their research, students demonstrated their knowledge by creating bulletin boards, badges, banners, posters, and writing newsletters to raise awareness of the issue. Some of the bulletin boards are displayed on a table in the school hall. A “hunger jar” sits on the table where students and staff can donate money to be sent to local food banks.

“I truly believe in project-based learning because it empowers students to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex problem facing the world. We need young people who are ready and able to meet the challenges of their lives and the world. Students can address issues that are important to them and their communities,” McDowell said.

The project-based learning initiative left a lasting impression on the students. Reflecting on their efforts, Adriana said, “I learned that not everyone eats three meals a day. And that we need to pay more attention to situations like these. Also, if you could help one person, it would make a big difference.

Mia shared, “It was an honor to do this project. I learned that we can all do something to help each other. I can bring families together and we can plan food drives.

Diana added: “I learned so much from this project. There is no other word to describe this project, but amazing. I will remember everything we have done and let more people know about food insecurity in our communities.

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