How do you use a scroll saw to teach geography? 3rd grade teacher Bridget Corso and art teacher Tracy Leavitt have collaborated to develop a hands-on approach to studying the continents of the world.

To begin, in social studies, the class discussed Pangea, the supercontinent that existed for most of geologic time, encompassing almost all of today’s landmasses. This discussion led to exploration of technologies old and new, as students began work to create a model showing how the continents might have moved.

Their first step was to use a technology from their parents’ days, an overhead projector, to trace large-scale outlines of the continents projected from a smaller image.

This week, groups of 3rd graders spent time with Tracy in the MakerSpace. They transferred their drawings to plywood, and one by one, used the scroll saw to cut along the lines. Of course, they had expert assistance; this project is part of Tracy’s work with the myTech Instigator program.

For some, this was a great pleasure. For others, there was trepidation. All discovered the thrilling sound of a broken blade!

Next, students will paint and hand letter their continents, then take on the engineering challenge of making the sculpture move. They will present their work at the 3rd Grade Family Gathering the week before Winter Break.