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Fifth-graders take a crack at real-life problem solving

MONMOUTH — Fifth-grade students in Dale Claussen's class had a unique view into technology on Friday.

Moana Andrew, a fifth-grader at Ash Creek Elementary School in Monmouth, disassembles a VCR as part of a classroom hands-on three-dimensional lesson Friday.

Photo by Lukas Eggen

Moana Andrew, a fifth-grader at Ash Creek Elementary School in Monmouth, disassembles a VCR as part of a classroom hands-on three-dimensional lesson Friday.

January 14, 2014

MONMOUTH — Fifth-grade students in Dale Claussen's class had a unique view into technology on Friday.

Ash Creek Elementary School students worked to disassemble VCRs piece by piece and learn about the way VCRs work.

The project was aimed at giving students a chance to learn skills and lessons beyond the basics of school.

"It's a hands-on three-dimensional lesson," Claussen said. "Spatial brain development is important. They have to realize how things fit, how they get put together, how you have to take off one piece to get to another. It is real-life problem solving."

For students, the project also had one big advantage: Destruction.

"I like taking it apart," Moana Andrew said.

While the students may be focused on deconstructing VCRs, the lesson also served another purpose, even if it's one the students don't realize fully just yet. And students need more lessons like these as they grow up, Claussen said.

"The biggest things are critical thinking and problem solving," Claussen said. "I personally feel the kids don't get enough of that in school. We teach them how to read and do math problems, but they don't know how to use a screwdriver and they need those experiences."

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