Smithfield Herald

Smithfield-Selma students explore how time travels

Shown are, from left: front row – grant recipients Mark Peterson and Bethany Jones; and back row – Smithfield-Selma High School principal Stephen Baker and Brandy Crocker and Judy Boyette, both of the Johnston County Education Foundation.
Shown are, from left: front row – grant recipients Mark Peterson and Bethany Jones; and back row – Smithfield-Selma High School principal Stephen Baker and Brandy Crocker and Judy Boyette, both of the Johnston County Education Foundation. JOHNSTON COUNTY SCHOOLS

Smithfield-Selma High School recently received a $1,200 grant from the Johnston County Education Foundation to benefit students in Bethany Jones’ Life Skills class.

Jones said that as her students watched “Back to the Future II” as part of a lesson, they were fascinated by the concepts of physics and the speed of light. Afterward, her students wanted to learn more about “how things worked,” she said.

Because of their curiosity, Jones reached out to SSS physics teacher Mark Peterson for some collaboration. The two developed a small unit in which Peterson’s honors physics students created four mini-lessons based on concepts from “Back to the Future II.”

“We decided that Mr. Peterson’s honors physics students could teach my students some key physics concepts and tie it into the film that sparked the interest,” said Jones.

The collaboration between the two classes allowed students to interact socially as they learn from each other, share ideas and build a product together. Among other assignments, the students measured the speed of light and made a hovercraft.

“We are excited to work together and have our students learn together,” Jones said.

Because of the cost associated with the lesson, Jones and Peterson applied for and won the Education Foundation grant, which purchased four iPads and other materials.

A portion of the money allowed Jones to purchase two modern-design rocking chairs and various fidgets, which are hand-held sensory objects. She will use the chair and fidgets to help calm anxious students and to control unnecessary noises. The fidgets come in a variety of forms and are designed to help students cope with over-stimulation.

“I wanted to help with these needs but in a manner that is age appropriate,” Jones said.

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