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Oak Ridge Elementary School

Gifted and Talented Students at Legacy Elementary Learn about Gutenberg Printing Press

Amy Mitchell, Legacy GT teacher, said they have learned the importance and history of each method of communication as well as have been given practical and creative opportunities to use them.

“Students have also studied Greek and Latin roots, mythology, and Roman Numerals,” Mitchell said. “They learned about the Greek cipher used to send secret military messages called a ‘Scytale’ and made one of their own, they created necklaces with their name in Morse Code, and most recently are learning about Johannes Gutenberg and how his printing press made books.”

Mitchell said that with each lesson she tries to engage the students in activities. She said the activity for the lesson on Gutenberg was something to help them learn about the printing press and its impact on the availability of printed text to the public.

“They got to practice the skill of ‘movable type’ by stamping phrases and their names,” Mitchell said.

Each year the GT program has a theme, Mitchell explained, and this year the communication theme is allowing the students to practice their skills to become better critical thinkers and enable them to be the next generation of innovators. 

“It is important for students to understand how things change over time, and communication, an integral aspect of our human existence, has morphed greatly since prehistoric cave people painted cave walls to communicate,” Mitchell said. “Also, putting themselves in the shoes of the Lascaux cave painters, Helen Keller, and Louise Braille, students have increased their ability to feel empathy and express compassion and understanding for people who experience challenges.”

Mitchell said the students are currently studying the flow of electricity and how simple circuits work, but next the students will work on a special project. 

“Thanks to the Frenship Foundation for Leadership Teacher grant we received, students will learn about Bell, Morse and Edison and will build and test a telephone system, a telegraph, and a motion-picture viewer,” Mitchell said. “It should be an engaging and fun way to integrate STEAM with history and sharpen problem-solving skills.”

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