Harry Hoag Elementary
teacher plans hands-on activities
That’s what Harry Hoag Elementary social
studies teacher Cheryl Toomey tries to incorporate into her lessons.
And after just a few weeks of school, she’s done just that.
If you go into her classroom, you’ll see a
bevy of maps of the United States. But they’re not just any maps.
Mrs. Toomey charged her fifth grade students with creating physical
maps of the country using shell macaroni. Many of the maps have
painted macaroni on them to show the Rocky Mountains and other
“It’s not always easy to make a hands-on activity, but I like to
have the kids interested in what they’re doing, so I look for ways
to involve them,” she said. “Active participation without always
being lectured too helps a lot.”
For her sixth grade students, Mrs. Toomey
created an archeological project. She brought in physical artifacts
and instructed her students to figure out what they were and what
they were used for. She then created an activity where the students
pretended the year was 3012 and they had to excavate a site in Fort
“I made them create a poster and detail what
they found,” she said. “Students ‘excavated’ a playground, a Nice ‘n
Easy, and Ponderosa.”
And since the students don’t have a computer class this year, Mrs.
Toomey tied-in basic computer skills with the lesson.
“To make the posters, the students had to make
a table in Microsoft Word,” she said. “They couldn’t make the
posters the right size unless they learned to make a table.”