ELLSWORTH – Ellsworth Elementary School held a special Touch a Truck Day on Wednesday, Oct. 26 as part of a Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) lesson.
Seven businesses, 12 employees, and 10 trucks made the day fun for 625 K-5 students, said STEM Coordinator Tami Place.
Visitors included Jerry DeWolfe and Jason Elsen from Ellsworth Fire, Chief Eric Ladwig and Officer Darren Foss of Ellsworth Police Department, Dave Koch and Michael Moldenhauer of Ellsworth’s Street Department, Greg Falde from Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, Joy Schroeder and Mike Rehbein from Ellsworth Area Ambulance, Chad Johnson and Brent Gregg from Pierce County Highway Department and Jacob Brown from Plummer Concrete.
“The STEM lab, along with our tech class, have been learning about our community the month of October,” Place said. “The fifth and fourth grade students took a walk up Main Street and learned about the businesses.” Place reached out to community businesses to see if they would send a video talking about what their business does. She had seven businesses send a one-to-two minute video, which students watched during STEM class.
“Thank you to Brush Strokes, Wild Arrows, Quinn Motors, Pizza Man, Pizza Arcade, Ellsworth Bus Garage and Klaas Jonas Pool,” Place said. “Quinn Motors invited us in to see their cars in the showroom, which was a big highlight for those students.”
Second through fifth graders made maps of the community. As a group, they came up with businesses they had learned about, researched or seen on a video, and put them on the maps. They then used their Beebot Robots as cars to “drive” around the community.
“We bring what the students have learned during class and bring it all together in the STEM lab, Place said. “So to bring it all together, I thought, ‘let’s have the students learn first-hand what we have to offer in our community.’ Just a different way of learning besides being in a classroom.”
And that is how the Touch a Truck Day came to fruition. When Place’s son was about 2 or 3 (he is 15 now), he attended a Touch a Truck day at the former Shopko parking lot. He had so much fun, that Place thought her students might love it too.
The event was such a success that she plans to bring it back in the future.
“I have had so much positive feedback from our staff and students along with our community workers who brought trucks that day,” Place said. “Jack Zimmer, who is in kindergarten, said the police car was his favorite. Mia Murphy said she loved the village trucks. One student said this was the best day of his life. One student was undecided after seeing the grader truck and the police car, which one he wanted to be when he grew up.”
Students were able to take what they learned in the classroom and understand what happens in the real world, Place added. They had a hands-on experience with community members.
“What an amazing turnout for our students,” Place said. “We are very fortunate to live in a community that supports our students. I cannot thank the business community enough for helping our students learn in a hands-on way.”