Ask students at Saints Francis and Clare Catholic School how December is going and they’d probably answer, “Super!” That’s because teachers have presented lessons and activities incorporating the upcoming Super Bowl.
Earlier this month, for example, groups of students trekked from the school’s campus at 5901 Olive Branch Road, Greenwood, to Lucas Oil Stadium for a project-based learning unit inspired by Indy’s upcoming Super Bowl. They toured the stadium, visiting the press box, walking on the playing field and examining the goal posts, and getting a close-up look at the quarterback suite. Visiting downtown Indianapolis and Lucas Oil stadium is serving as the entry event to their project-based learning unit.
“Having the Super Bowl in their home city may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these students,” said Principal Betty Popp. “I want them to be able to take in all the excitement surrounding the festivities.”
The approach to this learning-based field trip begins with asking each grade level a Super Bowl-related question that requires them to work together. For example, kindergartners were asked, “How do professional athletes use their time, talent and treasure to benefit their communities?” Third graders were asked, “How is measurement used in the Super Bowl and in our daily lives?” And middle school kids were asked, “How can we learn from the persuasive marketing techniques of the Super Bowl commercials to create our own commercials to promote social justice?”
Angie Gilliland, the school’s director of communications and marketing, says students are solving problems on a real-world level. Project-based learning means the students analyze real-world events with questions that form a basis for a project the students will complete and present to a live audience.
In that regard, award-winning commercial producers visited the school right before Christmas break to share their secrets with middle school students. The producers will be prepping the students for filming their own commercials and experts will host a Q&A session.
“The question and answer session will lend to the research by the students as part of their project-based learning,” said Gilliland. “The middle school students will be filming their own commercials for social justice, using advertising techniques similar to those used in Super Bowl commercials.”
The school will host a “Big Game Bonanza” for school and parish families at the end of January to showcase the students’ projects and air commercials for parents and peers just before the Super Bowl. Students also will enjoy additional days out of school the Friday and Monday surrounding the Super Bowl.
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