Peebles Elementary School fifth-graders Feyrah Melendez, Mariela Trujillo and Denny Garcia show guests a bridge sculpture and a drawing that were part of their exhibition projects exploring the challenges of poverty. All of the school’s fifth-graders completed research and action projects as part of the Primary Years Program International Baccalaureate program.

Todd Martin | KISD

Peebles Elementary School fifth-graders drew on a wide range of artistic expression to research and present complex global problems and possible solutions at the school’s annual exhibition Monday.

The exhibit served as culmination for the year and for the fifth-graders at the Primary Years Program International Baccalaureate School.

Working in groups, students focused on a central idea: “People use creativity to express their feelings about things that are going on in the world and inspire change.”

Spread across four fifth-grade classrooms, students displayed works of art and elements of their research in posters and video formats.

Some students in Gelixa Rodriguez’s bilingual fifth-grade class displayed clay sculptures, drawings and masks demonstrating artistically the effects of poverty.

Fifth-grader Denny Garcia created a drawing showing the roots of poverty, with streams forming tributaries of homelessness, hunger and death.

Alejandro Montelongo created a clay sculpture displaying a video-game controller held by a bloody hand demonstrating the violence depicted in certain games.

Feyrah Melendez demonstrated the challenges of poverty with a sculpture called “The Bridge of Hope,” with people living in poverty and wealth on either side of a bridge.

“The bridge represents rich and poor, and there is always hope,” she said, “I learned that some people don’t have homes and they live in trucks and cars. It made me feel sad because they don’t have what they need.”

She and the other fifth-graders pointed out in their presentations and artwork that hope lives in education and through those willing to help. Rodriguez said her students chose issues based on their interests.

“They discovered they could do things they didn’t know they could do and it opened their eyes to the seriousness of these issues,” the teacher said.

Principal Gayle Dudley said the students’ work prepares them to do a higher level of research and sets them on a path to improve the global condition.

“It’s a huge research project they pull off,” she said.

“There are some awful themes that unfortunately affect children. It’s amazing to see the creativity.”

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