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Dickinson 6th graders market their science skills in annual Toy Expo

“They come up with the blueprints, they come up with a design, they have to market (and) they have to do the advertising. So we give about 10 days for students just to work on this big project together,” Damian Sobolik noted.

Sixth grade students of Dickinson Middle School test out original creations in the fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Sixth grade students of Dickinson Middle School test out original creations in the fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — Dickinson Middle School hosted its fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, where nearly 300 sixth graders teamed up to showcase their original games, models and simulations.

Sixth grade science teachers Allison Grosz, Damian Sobolik and Heidi DesRosier coordinated to organize this event.

“We want the students to get a hands-on feel for how energy transfers through objects and what's more fun when working with kids than toys,” Sobolik said. “So they get to create toys and they can't do trademark toys. They have to do (something) from their own ideas and they have to explain to us how the energy transfers through and the different energies that transfer to the toy.”

Each year, the three sixth grade science teachers work together to plan this expo event. Students are grouped in teams of three or four, and learn to collaborate with one another.

“They come up with the blueprints, they come up with a design, they have to market (and) they have to do the advertising. So we give about 10 days for students just to work on this big project together,” Sobolik noted.

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Dickinson Middle School students shoot around with a basketball creation during the Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Dickinson Middle School students shoot around with a basketball creation during the Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

This year, fifth graders toured the expo, catching a glimpse of what sixth grade science looks like at Dickinson Middle School. Sobokik added that “it’ll probably wet their appetites for next year.”

Grosz added, “I also look forward to having our seventh and eighth graders come back down and check out the toys that sixth graders are building and then they'll remember what they built too and what they learned.”

A floating toy creation is pictured during the fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, that was hosted by the sixth grade science classes at Dickinson Middle School.
A floating toy creation is pictured during the fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, that was hosted by the sixth grade science classes at Dickinson Middle School.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

With western North Dakota playing a huge role in the state’s energy sector, this event provides an opportunity for students to see what their expertise could achieve.

“Right now, energy is a big part of our whole community and I think it's just giving them an idea of how maybe engineering could be a possible and future profession for them,” Grosz noted.

A sixth grade student tests out her group toy creation during the fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Dickinson Middle School.
A sixth grade student tests out her group toy creation during the fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Dickinson Middle School.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press
Three Dickinson Middle School students have fun during Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Three Dickinson Middle School students have fun during Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

Throughout the event, fifth and sixth students crowded in the event space, floating from one table to the next to check out all of the homemade and original creations.

“I think it’s important that all kids learn how to work together. Science and STEM (are) very important (for) the future and so we just need to keep them excited about it,” Sobolik said, adding, “That’s our class’ hope.”

Students at Dickinson Middle School test out a creation that resembles ping-pong Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, during Toy Expo.
Students at Dickinson Middle School test out a creation that resembles ping-pong Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, during Toy Expo.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press
Students try out a toy during the fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Dickinson Middle School.
Students try out a toy during the fifth annual Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Dickinson Middle School.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press
One Dickinson Middle school student, right, instructs a fellow student how to use his bow target creation during Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
One Dickinson Middle school student, right, instructs a fellow student how to use his bow target creation during Toy Expo on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

Related Topics: DICKINSONDICKINSON PUBLIC SCHOOLSEDUCATIONSCIENCE
Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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