McKenna White

Students in Rossland Summits School’s multi-age class show what they learned at home

Rossland Summit School’s new multi-age classroom is celebrating its students accomplishments with a Home Learning Expo.



Rossland Summit School’s new multi-age classroom is celebrating its students accomplishments with a Home Learning Expo on Monday and Tuesday.

The multi-age class is open to students from Grades 2 to 5, and every Friday students from the class stay at home, doing self-directed learning with their parents. The expo was a chance for them to show what they’ve been working on so far this year.

“What they’ve been working on this autumn, for this term, are a variety of projects depending on their personal interest,” said class teacher Bridget O’Malley on Monday. “So that’s what we’re doing today. We’re showcasing whatever would have been their big project.”

Mckenna White, in Grade 3, did projects on hydraulics and the moon.

For her hydraulics project she made three hydraulics operated models using store-bought sets.

“The reason why hydraulics are so amazing and useful is because they’re so much stronger than motors because they use the water,” she explained as she showed how her models work.

Madison Pols, Grade 3, made a scratching post for her cat Binks and learned to draw horses.

Her dad, a journeyman carpenter, helped her build the scratching post and showed her how to use power tools.

“I learned it’s important to learn how to use these tools because if you don’t know how to use them you could really hurt yourself,” she said.

Marcus Hamm, Grade 5, base his project around the video game Minecraft.

He worked on his reading skills while reading up on how to build things in the game, and learned how to video record what he was doing on screen and how to edit in iVideo so he could make videos showing what he’d built.

“We watched lots of Ted Talks about Minecraft, like how it was educational and stuff, and we also made snow globes,” he explained.

Marcus’s snow globes have tiny Minecraft characters inside, and he also learned how to play “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry.

Bobby Edge, Grade 3, learned to code and storyboard while working on building animations in a program called Tynker.

He also did a project where he learned about microbes.

“I learned that if a bacterium was the size of a bus, then a virus would be the size of a worm, and that if they were the size of us, they would be as fast as a cheetah,” he said.

Therin Rawthorne, Grade 4, learned all about wolves and built a diorama showing a wolf den. He also made his own ink and attended karate class for his physical education component.

This is the first year RSS has run a multi-age classroom.

“The really unique thing about it is the partnership with the families, and that the families play a key role in supporting their children with their personal learning,” said O’Malley.

So far parents seem to be enjoying the unorthodox classroom.

“I’m finding that my kids are really excited about learning,” said Brenda Henry, McKenna’s mom, who also has another child in the multi-age class.

The home learning component of the class has been especially interesting for parents to experience.

“I get to see a little more of how they’re learning and understanding that, and being able to help them,” said Henry. “And they’ve had to take a part in their own learning as well.”

“It’s been interesting [with] the self-based learning that the kids want to do. You just have to figure it out with them,” said Kendall Pols, Madison’s mom.

Parents have also found that being in a classroom with kids of different ages has benefited their children.

“It gives the older children a great opportunity for leadership, positive leadership skills, and it’s been a great opportunity for the kids to interact with different ages and learn how to get along,” said Pols.

Linda Schulze, Marcus’s mom, agrees.

“It’s been a good experience for him because he’s a younger child and so he’s used to going along and doing what other people tell him to do,” she said. “Now he has to do two things: he has to show leadership he has to show how kids are supposed to act in the class and he also has to help create a cohesive learning environment.”