MMH set to host Looking at Lethbridge Public Forum on March 9

By Garrett Simmons

Lethbridge School District No. 51

Communications Officer

Grade 3 students at Mike Mountain Horse Elementary School know what Lethbridge needs to move forward as a city.

For the last month and half, the students have been researching what our city has, and what is does not have, compared to other cities in Canada and around the world.

The multi-pronged project has given students a lot to think about, according to MMH Grade 3 teacher Corrina Barker, who added the goal of the project is for students to come up with ideas to improve the quality of life for Lethbridge residents.

Everything will culminate with the Looking at Lethbridge Public Forum, set for March 9 at the school. In all, 115 Grade 3s will participate in the forum, as students are set to present a wide range of ideas, which include a relaxation garden, plug-in station for electric vehicles, a science centre, an all-ages fitness centre, a hotel for the westside and an indoor skatepark, to name just a few.

“We didn’t really guide them much in terms of what they could pick, but it had to be realistic,” said Barker. “There’s a pretty wide variety of things that the kids are making.”

Students started the process by creating a survey, where they asked MMH students and staff exactly what the city needs. Financial constraints, environmental concerns, weather issues and the time needed to construct certain structures were taken into considerable.

Students then created an engineering notebook, where they further researched their specific idea, borrowed designs from other communities and dove into the specifics of their project.

Next, students created blueprints for their design, with some input from a city architect, who visited the school to make a presentation. Students also heard from city Councillor Ryan Parker, who delivered a presentation to the Grade 3s, to give the city perspective on the process.

“We are trying to bring in people from the community to make it as realistic as possible for the students,” said Barker.

Those blueprints were also critiqued by students and their teachers, as part of the process.

“They’ve loved it,” said Barker. “I probably get asked, ‘Can we work on our blueprints,’ 17 times a day.”

Persuasive letters have also been written, as students conjured up arguments to support their projects, in an attempt to prove to city officials their ideas are worthy of consideration.

And now, after all the planning and preparation, students are set to embark on the most exciting phase of the project – creating the three-dimensional models.

“Some will have cardboard models, Styrofoam projects and some are even going as far as bringing in their toy cars for the parking lots,” said Barker, who expects work to begin on the models when students are back in class Feb. 26.

The intricate designs will be on display next month at Mike Mountain Horse, as Barker added the forum will be similar in format to a science fair. Members of the public will have an opportunity to take a look at each project, engage the students in conversation and find out just how passionate they are about the proposals.

The Looking at Lethbridge Public Forum will begin at 9:30 a.m. on March 9.

Date posted: Feb. 20, 2018