2016 Follett Challenge Middle School Semifinalist: Bethlehem Area School District

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| Case Study 2016 FOLLETT CHALLENGE SEMIFINALIST Building of a simple gingerbread house is at heart of this innovative STEM program Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is known as the Christmas City, and each year the area comes alive with holiday cheer during December. Colorfully decorated trees, sparkling lights and all things that signify Christmas adorn the town and welcome visitors. From the building of snowmen and gingerbread houses to the baking of cookies, the traditions identified with the holiday sometimes escape a large portion of Broughal Middle School's student population, which is largely underprivileged. "Many of our middle schoolers had never made a gingerbread house," said Dawn Bothwell, the Librarian/Media Specialist for the school. "Additionally, they knew very little about environmental design and issues that impact their future. We wanted to develop some innovative way to help them understand the reasons behind our LEED-certified school building while teaching 21st-century skills." And so the GingerBuild project was born, a competition that challenges seventh-grade science students to build gingerbread houses with environmental design and construction (sustainability) behind each one. Students learn about sustainable design and the science and engineering behind green buildings as they work with a local design firm and then apply those principles, working in teams, to build a gingerbread house to beat all others. Students must convince judges from the community of the merits of their houses and explain the rationale behind their designs. Each gingerbread house is judged on sustainability, craftsmanship and team communication. Students don't make just one presentation – they answer judges' questions, and all students have a voice and are accountable for their projects. BROUGHAL MIDDLE SCHOOL/BETHLEHEM AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT BETHLEHEM, PA

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