Innovation Week draws
creative urges from Sanpete
By Ben Lasseter
Elementary students across Sanpete County spent last week putting together creative projects for “Innovation Week” at their schools. This week, the middle schools are following suit.
Jodi Anderson of the South Sanpete School District said the purpose of Innovation Week
is “to give students an opportunity to showcase their interests and to use the technology the
district has provided for them.”
They can design, build, craft, produce, construct, write, draw, compose, invent, discover, create, explore, etc.
The final products must be submitted in digital form to be judged. Winners receive prizes, but all participants receive an ice cream bar, Anderson stated.
David Ipson, principal of Manti Elementary School, called it an “opportunity to go through an innovative process to create something awesome” for them.
Elementary schools in Gunnison, Manti and Ephraim assigned their students to
create things to embody themes chosen by the schools, either individually or in groups.
Ephraim Elementary School decided to carry out a fusion of this and Red Ribbon Week
last week, a national drug-awareness campaign. Instead of deciding between the two, they held a “Safety Awareness Week.” Ephraim students created projects under the theme of safety awareness.
School secretary Heather Harward said the week was a way for the school to cover a range of topics on safety, such as crossing the street properly and managing emotional health.
At Manti Elementary, every student followed the theme of “belonging.” One sang a song, and a group of girls in the fifth grade made a short movie about welcoming a new student to school. Other final products included food and crafts to share with classmates, visual art and a “belonging catapult” that came equipped with a crumpled written piece about belongingness as a projectile.
“With everything going on in the world, I wanted kids to innovate ways to feel like they
belonged,” Ipson said.
Janet Johnson, the school’s Cove 21 coordinator, led Innovation Week at Manti Elementary. Cove 21 stands for “Curiosity Optimization for Values Exponential growth for 21st century skills,” Ipson said. This is a STEM-related program, meaning related to the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum.
He said she worked with students in the school lab equipped with 3D printers, computers, audio recording equipment and other 21st century devices. There is even a “Harry Potter coding wand,” he said.
Following the elementary schools, Gunnison Valley grades six through 12 will create
technology-based projects. Three middle-schoolers and three high-schoolers have the chance
to win prizes of $50 for their work.
A memo sent to teachers said of the week, “All project topics should be student-directed making them open-ended. Let’s see what our students choose to create.”