Archive for Thursday, September 14, 2006

Students tackling life lessons in class

September 14, 2006

Forget the cooking and sewing that went on in your mother's home economics class.

That's so yesterday.

Welcome to the modern Family and Consumer Science class that Basehor-Linwood Middle School students are experiencing.

On Monday, several students demonstrated a new FACS class structure for school board members.

The class is broken up into modules, which students complete in pairs on computers.

FACS teacher Donna Gunter explained to board members and building principals that each computer station features a different module.

"In the practical skills module, students learn how to put a faucet on a sink, use a drill to hang a shelf; things like that," she said. "In personal finance, it shows students the pros and cons of credit, which is something I think everybody should take."

At the board meeting, students Shelby and Sheridan Miles and Courtney Inlow manned a few of the modules involving cooking -- including breakfast nutrition, microwave cooking and nutrition and snack nutrition -- to demonstrate how the computer programs work.

The students follow step-by-step on-screen and voice instructions to make food, sew a button, balance a checkbook or fix a leaky faucet.

Students also may complete math problems in some modules, where they must figure out the average muscle weight of a 150-pound man. Personality and hand-eye coordination tests are administered in a careers module to help students determine what jobs they might enjoy and excel in.

The class is a required nine-week course for seventh-graders and an elective course for eighth-graders.

"The students hit four to five modules in seventh grade," BLMS principal Mike Boyd said. "The computer keeps track of them, and they go through the rest when they come back the next year. The kids really like it because there's a lot of variety."

During a normal class period Tuesday morning, Gunter fielded questions from seventh graders, who are just getting the hang of the brand new program. Instead of raising their hands, students turn on call lights at their stations to alert Gunter.

Lauren Owens and Cortney Wise measured and weighed a doll called "Ready or Not Tot" while working in the early childhood module. They turned on their call light to ask Gunter how to figure out the ratio between the circumference of the baby's head and the length of its body.

"We learned that baby's heads are almost as big as their bodies," Wise said. "The head was 13 and three-fourths centimeters and the body was 20."

Student pairs work at a module for seven days before rotating to the next one. Pairs also take turns as lab managers, where instead of completing a module, students gather and distribute the supplies needed at each module for seven days.

Gunter said the skills the students learn in the modernized class will help them in the future.

"They get basics of a lot of necessary life skills," she said. "With all these basics they find where their interests lie and maybe further those interests."

Action items:

  • Approved, 6-0, to accept the 2005-2006 audit report.
  • Tabled, 6-0, the auditor's contract because it was not available.
  • Approved, 6-0, to hire Jill Kirn as the technology repair person.
  • Approved, 6-0, one employee resignation and seven employee contracts.
  • Scheduled a work session at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, to discuss a possible bond issue and long-range planning.

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