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Ukulele Project Provides Collaborative Opportunity to Learn
Photo of student displaying her ukuleleCaroline Bricker fashions herself a designer. The eighth-grader’s ukulele is a Pokemon Pikachu made from paper and cardboard and she’s working hard to get the frets carved in the neck.

She and other students at Canal Winchester Middle School are learning 21st Century skills in their STAR class, designed to teach them how to apply the lessons they learn in school in the real world.

Instructor Sheree Daily had the idea to craft ukuleles, which is involves math, teamwork and creativity. The project led her to Fairfield Career Center and Construction Technologies instructor Troy Dennison. Eight of Dennison’s students spent the past two weeks taking recycled wood and turning them into ukulele necks. They, too, learned new skills. “They had to learn a minimum of four tools just to be able to help with the project,” Dennison said.

Dennison’s students came to lend a hand in Daily’s classroom, which was a flurry of activity with students measuring, marking, and measuring again, some by themselves, others helping classmates. “It’s just a natural collaboration that doesn’t happen in a normal math class,” said Daily. “This collaboration is real life.”

Once Bricker and her classmates finish making their ukuleles, they will also learn to tune them. Daily said they might even learn to play a song, proving that collaboration in the classroom may literally translate into music to your ears.
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