By Carrie McDermott
Fourth through sixth-grade students at Breckenridge Elementary School had the opportunity to participate in “Funtastic Fridays” during the month of February.
The program, which partners with area businesses, higher education schools and organizations, allows students a chance to get out of the classroom and participate in different hands-on workshops.
Dee Nelson, coordinator of Funtastic Fridays, explained the program gives students a change in their routine and environment.
“It gives them something to look forward to,” she said.
The unique classes are held from 1-2:30 p.m. on four consecutive Fridays. Students learn about a wide range of topics ranging from wood burning, and investigating the scientific properties of the common chicken egg, to trips to OSPTI, Chahinkapa Zoo to learn about bison and a visit to Greenquist Academy to learn discipline and respect from Master Eric Greenquist.
One of this year’s outings took students to the new diesel technology facility in Bisek Hall on the North Dakota State College of Science campus. There, they divided into three groups and went through various stations. At one, they had to move the bucket on an excavator to drop a basketball into a garbage can, Nelson said. At a second station, students sat in a loader and moved the buckets up and down. Students sat in a tractor at the third station and had a chance to start up different engines.
ComDel Innovation hosted another workshop for the students. Fourth grade teacher Arly Ohm said students recognized the benefits of all the endless job opportunities at a company like ComDel.
After their visit, the class discussed how the training they could receive at NDSCS may help better prepare them for a position at ComDel.
“It was fun to see all the different departments and how they took pride in their work,” Ohm said.
The students noticed how workers at each station were eager to show them what to do. The ComDel visit proved that if people are organized and work together as a team, anything is possible, regardless of the size of the community, Nelson said.
Nelson said the surveys that classes fill out after their sessions noted that every single student wanted to do it again.
Anjelina Hodges, 9, wrote about her experience at ComDel. She learned that at the right speed and temperature, holes can be drilled or burned into metal.
“I saw a machine that with the right pressure and strength, it can snap,” she wrote. “This one machine cleanses and shined some parts.”
Jazzlyn Hasbargen, 8, said the class watched the workers make and break things, including cutting metal, bending metal and melting metal. “My favorite thing was when we watched them make key chains and we each got one,” she wrote.
Teachers also had good things to say about the workshops, Nelson noted.
“It’s neat for kids to understand that there are really good jobs here,” she said. “Our college does a good job of helping with those things. The kids get to have some physical activity, and learn discipline and respect while visiting the companies.” The Funtastic Fridays program has been held at Breckenridge Elementary School since about 1997.
Department: Diesel Technology
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