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The students in my K-1 multiage class at Skyline Elementary School in Ferndale, Washington, never doubted they could build the airplane. They knew all they needed was a little help from the community.
My students are accustomed to engaging their minds using The Project Approach (Chard 1994, 1992; Katz and Chard 1989), which involves applying academic skills to meaningful, real-life projects. So when they wanted to demonstrate the knowledge they had gained from their self-chosen, in-depth study of airplanes, my students decided to design and constrvct their own airplane. They didn't want to build just a small model airplane; they wanted one that they could actually get in and "fly" to far away places - a student-sized, four-seat, high-wing airplane.
The students agreed that they needed help with the actual construction of their …