Culminating their experience in a globally focused school, Iduma Elementary School fifth-graders presented their annual exhibition research projects.

In two showings, the fifth-graders fanned across the school May 28 to present their work to parents and repeated the presentations May 29 for their peers and community guests.

During about a month of intense research and practice, the students worked in groups to study problems and consider action in a wide variety of topics, including littering, gun control, dyslexia, poverty and gangs.

Called an International Baccalaureate World School, Iduma is one of two Killeen ISD elementary schools that use the IB approach that features collaborative learning, inquiry and global perspective.

One group of three Iduma fifth-graders studied the impact of student attitudes on education.

Rosemary Horan introduced her “line of inquiry,” pointing out that bullying, the Internet and “just plain laziness” are impediments to education for many students.

Another team member, Madison Beard, reported on the negative influences of difficult family issues like divorce on a student’s education.

Students pointed out that attitudes about education have far-reaching implications, driving opportunities for years to come.

“A lot of students don’t know how important education is,” Horan said, speaking of the reasons she chose the topic to study.

“It’s more important than we thought,” Beard said. “It affects the future a lot.”

Archer Beckwith chose to study dyslexia to dispel myths regarding the dysfunction. As a dyslexic, the fifth-grader was passionate about the topic.

His research pointed out that dyslexia is a lifelong disability that is neurological and not visual. Some who suffer from it may appear lost or lazy, but that is not the case, Beckwith said.

Teachers and other adults can help students with dyslexia by making use of technology, speaking more slowly and allowing students more time to process information.

The fifth-grader pointed out the condition can cause areas of the brain to compensate, leading to giftedness. The list of famous dyslexics includes Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney and Tom Cruise.

Exhibition, said fifth-grade teacher Heather Perry, is an exercise in responsibility for students on the verge of middle school.

“It starts with them wanting to make a difference,” said Perry, explaining that students develop the list of possible topics and choose a personal top three before teachers confirm their study topic.

“They go in not used to the responsibility of research and they grow mentally, they mature over the month they do this,” she said. “I think it makes them feel good to teach someone.”

Perry said some of her students asked her how they could make a real difference as 10- and 11-year-olds, and they learned that action starts with individuals and classes before moving through a school and a community and beyond.

Fifth-grade teacher Thomas Gibson said the project gives fifth-graders an unusual degree of control over their learning and allows for maximum creativity and contribution.

“They get into their professional clothes and we see a maturity and responsibility,” Gibson said. “They want to do a good job. You can see how they are staying focused to the end (of the day).”

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