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Collaborative Project Earns Award for Tonawanda Schools and Herschel Carrousel Museum

Award June 2, 2016 A project that brought the history, art, music and mechanics of carrousel horses to fourth and fifth graders in Tonawanda City Schools has earned an award for both the school district and the Herschel Carrousel Museum in North Tonawanda.
Tonawanda City Schools and the Herschel Carrousel Museum won the Hodgson Russ Excellence in Collaboration Award from the Erie County Association of School Boards. The award was presented June 2 by Hodgson Russ Partner Andrew J. Freedman. Pictured are Carrousel Museum Education Director Megan Hahin, Tonawanda Enrichment Teacher Kim Honeck and Tonawanda Superintendent Dr. James Newton.
The Carrousel Museum had been provided a two-year grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Service to use for educational purposes and contacted Tonawanda Schools with an invitation to collaborate in a cross-curricular program focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and math.
Over the past few months, Megan Hahin, the museum’s educational teacher, has designed and delivered lessons to Fletcher Elementary students based on the academic goals of the Common Core Learning Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the district’s curriculum maps.
“This collaboration has a unique opportunity to allow students to learn about both old and new technology, tools and careers related to carrousels,” said Renee Sossong-Brady, the district’s elementary STEAM coach who worked with the museum’s educator. “Since the educational expert at the museum was so focused on CCLS, NGSS and district curriculum maps, our teachers were able to save valuable time by allowing her to plan and deliver focused lessons.”
Using a lesson about simple machines, Ms. Hahin and Kim Honeck, Fletcher’s enrichment teacher, helped the students understand the science behind the movement of the carrousel and the horses. The lesson allowed students to explore the concept of Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg’s wacky inventions were made up of many simple machines. The students were asked to make a diagram of their own Rube Goldberg using at least four simple machines to complete a simple task. This project allowed to students to brainstorm practical uses for simple machines.
To extend the learning, all Fletcher students will be taking field trips to the museum in early June. The grant funding covered busing for the field trips, entrance fees to the museum, and the purchase of consumable and permanent learning supplies for the lessons.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with students within our own community. I am grateful the teachers at Fletcher were so welcoming and enthusiastic about our educational programming,” said Ms. Hahin.
Art horses Art students in Jennifer Leone classes used the engineering design process in lessons focusing on the colors, painting, carvings and design of the carrousel horses. One outcome is a student art display at the Carrousel Museum on Father’s Day weekend, June 18 and 19.
Maria Kellner’s music classes concentrated on the music and instruments of carrousels, specifically the pipe organs and the punch papers used in self-playing instruments. If you consider the music rolls a player piano uses, this has a tie-in with beginning computer science and coding.
Ms. Hahin and social studies teacher Joy Schwob collaborated to develop lessons about the history of carrousels, the local people behind them, the machinery and the science of carrousels, the impact on the community, the importance of the Erie Canal and the growth of the Tonawandas.
Teachers Dan Wodarczak and Kristi Fuerch will also be collaborating on simple machines and Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion lessons to teach students about how simple machines help to make everyday tasks easier, and how Newton’s Laws are the basis for all physical force and motion on earth.
“This partnership was in direct support to the STEAM initiative that the Tonawanda Schools put into place for the 2015-2016 school year. This is a first step to becoming a STEAM School by 2020,” said Mary Beth Scullion, assistant superintendent.
“According to the STEM Rubric, provided by WNYSTEM Hub, collaboration with your community is key. Some other important aspects on the STEM Rubric is allowing students to practice 21st century skills, using the engineering design process, introducing students to new careers and the tools used in those careers, and a close look at the technology used in a career,” she said.