Even though the summer school enrichment program has ended for Sedalia School District 200 students, that does not mean their learning has.
This is especially true for a group of inquisitive young detectives who recently spent much of their time piecing together clues to solve daily cases in Tina Emery’s kindergarten class.
“Our enrichment program focused on STEM projects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math),” Emery said. “I decided to have my students become detectives in my class.
“We did different science activities each day that Carla Wheeler, director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the district, and Courtney Davis, a literature coach at Horace Mann, created,” Emery said. “One week we focused on germs, one week it was the five senses and the third week we studied animals.”
The three-week session took place from June 13 to July 1 and to add to the students learning, Emery had her students become detectives.
“One of the first days of class we made detective hats and I gave the students little notepads so they could write their clues down each day,” Emery said. “Every day I had a mystery guest come into the class and they gave the students at least five clues.
“Each time they got a clue which became easier with every one, the students wrote those down and then they were asked to guess the occupation of the guest.” Emery added. “Most of the time they got it but sometimes it was a little bit more difficult for them.”
With more than a dozen mystery guests, the students were always excited when a visitor knocked on their door, according to Emery.
“The students were really excited when we had a guest and they seemed really sad on days when we didn’t have a visitor,” Emery said. “Many of the guests were parents of former students but some I just knew through their work in the community.
“I think it really helped the students because it gave them some ideas about how the community works and the different occupations there are,” she added. “I think for some of them it may have got them interested in other jobs.”
Emery invited a doctor, nurse, firefighter and member of the Air Force but also asked a florist, judge and a Zumba instructor to test her student’s problem solving skills.
“Some of the guests were like Rhoda Moore, the florist, they knew what she did, but they didn’t know the right name for her job, they called her the flower lady; and with Elizabeth Estes, the Zumba instructor, they guessed a dance teacher,” Emery said. “I think the one who was the most difficult for them was the farmer, Sarah Nichols.
“I think because she was a female it really threw them off,” she added. “They really didn’t get it until the very last clue when she brought out a toy tractor.”
The guests provided the students the opportunity to work on their listening and vocabulary skills in addition to their writing skills since the students wrote thank you cards to all of their mystery visitors.
The students had one additional visitor during their three-week experience.
“My son Aaron (Emery) was my helper throughout the three weeks and he was a great help to me and my students,” Emery said. “I think the kids really loved having an older student in the class because it is someone they feel they can look up to.”
“As a final treat we watched a ‘Nate the Great’ video and had some homemade ice cream that the students made themselves,” Emery said. “It was a good way to tie everything together for all of us.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.