Rapid City, SD
Traditional teaching is changing at one Rapid City school. A new program at Canyon Lake Elementary is giving students the chance to choose their own classes.
Mara Brewer may only be eight years old, but she already knows how to build furniture.
"We built a couch, three benches; we built stools to sit on and one step stool," second grader at Canyon Lake Elementary Mara Brewer said.
It's all thanks to a new pilot program called "Mass Customized Learning."
"We're really looking at personalizing a student's education through academic readiness, student interest and different learning context," Principal Canyon Lake Elementary David Swank said.
Students can choose courses that interest them in the afternoons.
Now, they're showcasing what they've learned to other students.
"We wanted them to be thinking about how they would share the things they've learned with their families with their classmates who are taking different courses," Swank said.
Courses range from coding, geology and even yoga. That's not all.
"Running a basketball camp, they're doing some 3-D printing and then we have a genius hour class as well where they're looking at real world problems and finding solutions," Swank said.
It can prepare students for their futures.
"We want them to leave our elementary school with a much broader sense of possibility than when they started," Swank said.
Plus, for students like Brewer, it gives learning a creative twist.
"It's fun," Brewer said.
Students have two 45-minute interest groups every day for six weeks. They get to take 12 SIG classes a year.
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