Fourth grader Zoe Mack teaches some of her fellow students about the history of dance as part of the Roseville Community Schools gifted and talented program’s “Enormous Entities” project.

Fourth grader Zoe Mack teaches some of her fellow students about the history of dance as part of the Roseville Community Schools gifted and talented program’s “Enormous Entities” project.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Roseville elementary school students take on ‘enormous’ project

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 21, 2019

 Fourth grader Kristopher Lesniak  dresses up as Alexander Graham Bell to educate people about the history of the telephone.

Fourth grader Kristopher Lesniak dresses up as Alexander Graham Bell to educate people about the history of the telephone.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

 Fifth grader Chris Scheinphlug spent months researching bees and beekeeping as part of his Enormous Entities project for Roseville Community Schools’ gifted and talented program.

Fifth grader Chris Scheinphlug spent months researching bees and beekeeping as part of his Enormous Entities project for Roseville Community Schools’ gifted and talented program.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

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ROSEVILLE — Each year, the students of Roseville Community Schools’ gifted and talented program take on a monthslong project before showing it off to parents, staff and their fellow students.

Nancy Gitter is the gifted and talented program teacher for Roseville Public Schools and she runs the program. This year, the project was called “Enormous Entities,” and students spent weeks researching and crafting a project on a topic of their choice.

“It’s a program where the students study a topic all year,” explained Gitter. “Each year, we do a different theme. Last year was countries and cultures from around the world. This year is enormous entities, where the students have to choose an enormous topic to cover. This can be World War II, coding, superheroes — anything enormous in scope.”

The gifted and talented program encompasses students in the third, fourth and fifth grade throughout the seven Roseville elementary schools. The students from two of the elementary schools in the district who are involved in the program set up their projects so the students from both schools could learn from each project.

“Each child has their own station. They presented their project to their fellow students and then had to include something interactive to involve the other students,” said Gitter. “Last Friday, the students from Keiser and Patton elementaries presented their projects; on Monday, the students from Steenland and Huron Park went; (Thursday) the students from Dort and Kment did theirs; and on Tuesday, the Fountain Elementary students will do their projects.”

Gitter went on to say that because the students can pick their own topics, it’s a popular program — and an informative one to both the students in the gifted and talented program and the student body in general.

“The students walk out and they are naming all the different things they’ve learned,” she said. “We also give them a scavenger hunt of things to look for or facts to try and learn.”

Parents also were on hand to help their students with their projects and see what the other students came up with.

“We had a great turnout of parents this year,” Gitter said. “They help pay for all the projects, they help their students put it all together, and we love to get them involved.”

Shawna Brown, the mother of fourth grader Kristopher Lesniak, said her son’s project on the history of telephones was a great learning experience and said it should prepare him well for the sorts of projects and assignments he will need to do as he gets older.

“It’s been months and months of work,” she said. “Finding the different types of phones was probably the hardest part. He’s got a challenge where the other students have to dial a rotary telephone, and only three have succeeded so far. He had to do a lot of research on the topic and come up with interesting facts. He found Morse code and telegraphs very interesting.”

Fifth grader Justine Brun did her project on chronic wasting disease, a degenerative disease that afflicts deer, elk and moose. She chose the topic because her family comes from a long line of farmers, conservationists and hunters.

“She found it interesting because most people hadn’t heard of it — including her teacher,” said her mother, Diane Brun. “She did a lot of research online and talked with the Michigan (Department of Natural Resources). She crafted displays to provide facts about the disease and show pictures of animals at different stages of the disease. She even made a game to test the other students’ knowledge of what they learned about it when she was finished telling them about it.”

The students could choose any number of a variety of topics from history to science to culture.

“I did dance when I was younger, and I thought it would be fun to teach people what I learned,” said fourth grader Zoe Mack, who explored the history of dance. “I’m teaching them the Dougie, the Hitchhiker and the Freddie.”

Gitter said projects like this teach students how to handle complex projects at a young age.

“They learn to structure their time, they learn how to do research, they get to choose a topic they’re interested in, and they get to learn in a way that suits them,” she said. “History buffs get to cover history, technology buffs get to cover technology, and if they’re a more hands-on learner, they can make a project with Legos. The goal is to make learning fun.”

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