Children’s creativity blossoms during Innovation Week

Students in Leslie Sterner’s fourth grade class at Ephraim Elementary School won a class prize for their Innovation Week project on “Desert Habitat.” The poster includes pictures of a lizard, a camel, cacti and desert flowers.

Children’s creativity blossoms during Innovation Week


By Suzanne Dean




One elementary student designed his own candy dispensing machine. Two middle school students made a movie trailer (essentially a preview) of “Alice in Wonderland” as a horror show. A high school student created a model of what he called a “Shield around the world,” a drone that could save the day in all sorts of natural disasters.

These projects are just a small sample of class and individual creativity that blossomed during Innovation Week Nov. 4-8 in the seven schools in the South Sanpete School District.

April Christensen, district technology specialist, explained that the idea was to put aside regular class work for one week and allow students to choose something they wanted to learn about.

At Ephraim Elementary and Gunnison Valley Elementary, some classes as a whole did projects. But the majority of projects at all the schools were done by small teams or individual students.

The students researched their topic and created something reflecting their research that could be presented in digital form.

Innovation Week is a “personalized learning experience,” Christensen said. “The biggest thing we wanted the kids to do was not be confined to a box.”

Gunner Barclay, a student at Manti Elementary School, made a model of a machine that could dispense M&Ms and Skittles.

Using I-Movie, software found on school IPADs, Halle Pollack and Kaitlyn Fugal, students at Gunnison Valley Middle School, made the “Alice” trailer.

Jordan Durtschi, a junior at Manti High, was the one who did the “Shield around the world.” According to Jordan, the device would be able to find bodies of people killed in a disaster faster than ground searchers.

Students created videos on a range of topics including lasers, bullying, a model of a cell and a wind-turbine-powered car.

Another option was creating a Keynote presentation. Keynote is Apple software comparable to Power Point for PCs.

Projects were judged at the schools last week. Every elementary student who created or helped create a project got a certificate of participation. Secondary winners received award certificates and were recognized at a school board meeting last Friday, Nov. 15.

Prior to the board meeting, many of the secondary projects were displayed in the lunchroom at Gunnison Valley High School. Christensen said there was a good turnout of parents and students to view the projects.

Class project winners and project titles were:


Ephraim Elementary

            Kindergarten, Jennie Christensen’s class, Paper Scrap Monsters; first grade, Janet Jordan’s class, Marble Run; second grade, Janalee Worthington’s class, “Turkey Traps;” third grade, Sarah Parry’s class, “Moon Phases;” fourth grade, Lindsay Sterner’s class, “Desert Habitat.”


Gunnison Valley Elementary

            First grade, Ashley Nelson’s class, Techno Weather Wizards.


Individual and team winners were:

            Ephraim Elementary

            Porter Daniels, fifth grade, “Sharks Keynote.”


            Gunnison Valley Elementary

            Rawlee Coats, third grade, “Blue Heelers;” Lauren Wilden, Averie Bardsley, Gracie Owens and Jayda Mattson, fourth grade, “Mammals;” Colby Nay, fifth grade, video about pigs.


            Manti Elementary

            Amber Keisel, kindergarten, Creation from Geobuilders; Mckenzie Adams and Kaydence Anderson, first grade, Camper created from STEM tools; Lane Davis, second grade, rocket model; Rylee Johnson, third grade, Keynote story; Gunner Barclay, fourth grade, candy dispenser; Gracie Gerber, fifth grade, nature painting.


           Ephraim Middle School

            Stella Quakenbush, sixth grade, time lapse sketch; Lane Cox, seventh grade, baseball pinball machine; Monisha Mann, eighth grade, digital drawing.


            Gunnison Valley Middle

            Talan Dyreng and Ryder Coats, sixth grade, “The Snack Slider,” Power Point; Brittyn Jones and Erica Hingham, seventh grade. “Poem and Cookies on a Plate” (movie); Halle Pollock and Kaitlyn Fugal, “Alice” movie trailer using I-Movie.


            Manti High

            Gideon Watkins, junior, a full book based off of Scott Cawthon’s “Five Nights at Freddy’s Franchise; Jordon Durtschi, junior, “Shield around the world;” Alison Olson, freshman, book in Spanish; Taylor Palmer, junior, and Emma Bean, senior, psychology project, “Social Media Evaluation.”


            Gunnison Valley High

            Gage and Aubrey Peterson, freshman, “Trash Turkey” scrap metal art; Ben Sorenson, sophomore, “Cow Target,” scrap metal plinker; Koler Ludvigson and Dylan Anderson, sophomores, “Randy the Reindeer,” scrap metal art; Wyatt Walthers, sophomore, “Dance Bot,” animated comic.


Shaylee Roberts, a student at Ephraim Middle School, displays a model of a cell she made from various miscellaneous materials
Gunner Barclay, fourth grader at Manti Elementary School, holds out a cup of M&Ms dispensed by his candy dispensing machine. Gunner was the Innovation Week winner for his grade at Manti Elementary.