Eisenhower Middle School students collected nearly 1,300 boxes of cereal to donate to the Albuquerque Public Schools Title I McKinney Vento program.
The students started collecting the boxes in mid-October for their No-Hunger-Vember project. Eighth grade science & STEM teacher Ashley Daniels said she hopes to have the cereal delivered before winter break.
“Title 1 schools provide breakfast and lunch to qualifying families, and sometimes send home food for the weekends,” Daniels said in an email. “When school is not open, these kids may not know when or what they will get to eat.”
The project was proposed by Eisenhower Principal Jonathan Saiz and researched by Daniels’ STEM students, using information from the APS and New Mexico Public Education Department websites.
“When the students discovered how many hungry kids we may have in Albuquerque, they decided that no kid should be hungry or scared of where their next meal might be,” Daniels said. “It was gratifying to see them begin to empathize and the discussions around this topic became highly charged.”
The students wrote letters and made phone calls to local businesses to get them to help with the project. General Mills, which has a cereal and granola bar factory in Albuquerque, donated over 1,000 boxes of cereal to help the middle schoolers with their project.
On Friday the students created a domino-like effect with the cereal boxes, lining them up throughout the school campus before knocking them down, demonstrating some of the lessons learned in Daniels’ STEM class.
Before placing the boxes in the hallway and toppling them over, the students had to do some research and hands on learning. First, they had to design a path and measure the distance the boxes would travel.
“We then used regular dominoes to determine a ratio of size to maximum distance to place each domino. Using a rough scale factor, the students then calculated how far apart we could place each box of cereal and finally calculated how many boxes we would need,” Daniels said. “This set a goal for the students for collections. Some students worked on engineering designs to connect certain parts of our school.”
Steep ramps throughout the school complicated the engineering process, as the boxes would not stand on their own on the inclines. The students found a solution by building contraptions to help the boxes continue their projected fall. In addition to implementing engineering skills learned from class, they also applied some of the math and technology lessons learned.
“Some students were great at finding significant statistics in order to persuade people to donate. All of the research was used to construct announcements, postings in the staff and family newsletters, and students used them when they visited classes to explain the project and encourage participation,” Daniels said. “We will also have a team of video editors to take the footage shot by students and put it together in an electronic story.”
Although the project was proposed by the school principal and introduced by Daniels, it was the students who developed and completed the project in a team effort.
“Each student was able to find a way to participate and use their unique skills and talents to work as a team to pull this off,” Daniels said. “I would like everyone to remember that you never know what you can accomplish when you works a team, and that if you take a risk, you might actually succeed. If my students remember these two ideas from this experience, I will feel successful as their teacher.”
This story was updated Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022 to include a video provided by Jonathan Saiz and responses to questions by Ashley Daniels.