Van Horne Elementary students think innovatively

Schools & Students

A team of Sir William Van Horne Elementary students placed first in the Natural Resource category at the Tomorrow/Today Challenge hosted by Destination Imagination and Skills BC.

Guided by Grade 6/7 teacher Adrienne Stewardson, students Analisa Dutto, Katherine Li, Tu Lieu and Yianna Luka presented their innovative solution to recycling jewellery to a panel of judges at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

The challenge tested 24 teams of BC students in Grades 6-12 to apply research and knowledge in four economic sectors in natural resources, transportation, tourism and construction to predict on-demand jobs in 2025 when they will be pursuing careers.

Van Horne focuses on introducing students to science, technology, engineering and math through the robotics program, Destination Imagination competitions and a recess primary engineering club hosted by Stewardson (pictured, with Grade 6/7 students learning about robotics).

“Creativity needs to be practiced and students need to be challenged to find new ways to be resourceful,” says Stewardson. “It pushes them to make decision, commit to them and then defend those choices.”

Stewardson prepared her Destination Imagination students for the challenge by handing them materials like straws and tape, or even sticky notes, and asking them to create something. This approach helped her students think on their feet and work together.

“What they are really learning is cooperation and teamwork, because they work in groups,” says Stewardson. “It’s about the science and engineering, but they are really gaining the skill of working together.”