By: Kathy Lohse

*This is part five of a six-part series exploring Projects with Purpose. Find part four here

How might we build the sculpture we envisioned?
Assembling the sculpture, using wire and the clay hearts that the Borton community created.

First, we consulted with Evanee about her vision for assembly of the 100 heart sculpture. She wanted the same sized hearts hung together and hearts of the same color couldn’t be hung next to each other. We went to work. Each of the students started with their own heart, and then over a period of a week hung Karen’s family and friends’ hearts and staff members. Students were in charge of the placement. During this time, students made many profound comments such as:

As I was connecting Flor’s heart to mine, Flor commented, “Look, Miss Kathy, we are forever connected. Our hearts are next to each other.”

Lake, a fifth grader, when asked by a kindergartener what the sculpture was about he said, “It’s dedicated to a teacher I deeply respected.”

The students decided to dedicate the sculpture to Miss Karen, a teacher who passed away.

During the entire assembly process, Evanee kept tabs on our progress. She counted and recounted the already hung hearts and reminded her classmates continually that the same colored hearts couldn’t be next to each other. Evanee easily engaged with Borton community members who stopped to admire the work. She took great pride in sharing with others that this project was “her idea” and her classmates were helping her to realize her dream. We completed assembly and moved toward sharing our story with the Borton community. We asked the students:

How might we tell the story of our project and share our learnings?

The students planned a dedication for February 14th, a day of love. They decided they wanted to start by reading the book that inspired the project, “What Do You Do With an Idea?” Students then co-created the story of the project. 

Over the course of a week, the students practiced with me, using the scripts we created. The students came together to support the readers who were very nervous and reassured one another. 

We practiced in front of the whole school the morning of February 14th. Our school has a Morning Assembly each and every morning. Many family members from all the classes stay for the short assembly. Meaning, our final rehearsal happened in front of 450 plus people! 

Want to hear more about the celebration and the student’s reflections on this process? Follow along for the final part of this series: Celebrate & Reflect.

About the Educators:

Kathy Lohse is the PBL Coordinator at Borton Magnet School. Sheila Encinas is the teacher in The Shooting Star room. Borton Magnet School, in Tucson, Arizona, prioritizes Project-Based Learning and Systems Thinking.


You must be logged in to post a comment.