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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Dover-Sherborn Middle School held its STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) Fair on Thursday, where sixth graders were tasked with using all the skills they’d learned in their classes to design a unique civilization. To make matters trickier, each civilization had to address a challenge currently facing the world, ranging from global climate change to the rise in obesity rates.
“We gave them a challenge that they could solve a world problem, where this problem would not exist in their civilization,” explained DSMS teacher Sandra Sammarco. “So, what you’re seeing is their special civilization, and they’re using this GRAPES acronym (government, religion, art, politics, economy, social structure) they incorporate in the social studies unit. With that, they try to integrate the technology, engineering, art and music, so as you go upstairs and see different pieces, you might hear the music, you’ll see the art, you can check out the 3D printed artifacts. They’ve incorporated all of their skills into this one project.”
While it was nice to see that the teams were coming up with practical solutions to our real-world problems, it was also nice to see that everyone’s civilization seemed like a pleasant place to live. Despite what talk radio would have you believe about “Generation Z,” there were no forced labor camps or gulags in sight.
Students displayed art from their civilizations, 3D printed artifacts from their nations, and many performed music that had originated in their civilization. They also had QR codes that could be scanned on a smartphone, which would bring up a PowerPoint presentation they’d made to highlight their civilization.
Unlike most of the other civilizations, “Migadesi” sounded like it could be a real place but was just a made-up word created by combining the first letters of the team’s first names. The group’s 3D printed piece was from the board game “Uno,” as their leader would be decided via the game.
Why Uno? According to the team, it is “a calm game, but can be very tense.”
“Cookie City” was named after the fact that they give out free cookies to their citizens (like a giant Doubletree Hotel). Looking to get rid of plastic bags, their’s was a farming-based civilization full of farmers growing cotton for cotton bags, trees, and other plants designed to help the bees.
“Unicorns” was a civilization designed to stem rising obesity rates. As a result, thirty percent of its population was comprised of professional athletes, with exercise being one of the most important aspects of the civilization. They were called “Unicorns” because their religion centered around an invisible unicorn that everyone worshipped.
Students bounced around the library, school lobby and upstairs hall to check out everybody else’s civilizations. And while they can’t make these places real, perhaps they can take the lessons they’ve learned to make our own civilization a better one.