This year the sixth graders explored the question, “Who should care for the elderly?” Students participated in simulations to experience firsthand some of the disabilities that can accompany aging. They discussed issues around baby boomers, social security, and budgets, and listened and directed questions to a panel including a representative from the Alzheimer’s Association, a therapist specializing in geriatrics, and a director from Epworth Villa.
After a visit from Rebuilding Together OKC, students created valentines for the elderly served by that organization. Inspired by an AARP campaign, they investigated the importance of keeping active while you age and experienced firsthand what a workout at a retirement community might look like.
Finally, they read The Giver in English and completed their interview with an elder project. Students also invited the elders they interviewed to come and share an appreciation lunch at the middle school.
After practicing good manners and conversation starters, they ate lunch with their guests and shared the project they created depicting the wisdom they gained from their interviews. Projects ranged from favorite recipe books, to timelines, to illustrated childhood stories.
They ended the year by designing and executing a project to help the elderly. Students worked individually or in groups on these projects which were quite varied.
For example, one student made a meal with a grandparent, another planted flowers for an aging neighbor, and a group of students made an over-65 workout video. They then reflected on their experiences in writing.