An outlook on the bridge near the library so people can take in the scenery as they cross over Clear Creek. A rental shack where people can rent river sports equipment and proper safety gear. A Clear …
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An outlook on the bridge near the library so people can take in the scenery as they cross over Clear Creek. A rental shack where people can rent river sports equipment and proper safety gear. A Clear Creek gift shop.
These are just a few of the ideas that fourth graders at Mitchell Elementary School think would improve the Clear Creek walking path.
“Kids have the best imaginations,” said Connor Smith, a sophomore at Mines studying mechanical engineering. “They have ideas that we may not think of.”
On April 23, a group of 17 Colorado School of Mines students met with Mitchell’s entire fourth grade class to gather data on what the younger generation would like to see in their public spaces. The theoretical project entailed learning what the fourth graders would do to improve the Clear Creek walking path.
“They want to improve Clear Creek for themselves, but also for the betterment of the greater community,” said Allison Palmer, a freshman studying engineering with a community development focus. “It’s good that they can see the advantages for both.”
The Mines students created art-based activities for the fourth graders to do alongside Clear Creek. Activities included drawing with sidewalk chalk and using pipe cleaners to build a model of an idea.
“It was super fun because the kids had a lot of creative ideas,” said Tristen Kelson, a freshman studying biochemical engineering. “It was really cool to see what they came up with.”
The Mines students involved with the project are part of the Thorson First-Year Honors Program at Mines, which integrates the liberal arts into STEM. According to its website, the program “is a two-semester multidisciplinary course sequence” during which “students explore critical-thinking, design and ethical problem-solving through a multitude of lenses.”
The program “melds the ideas of engineering and humanity,” said Mirna Mattjik, Mines’ professor for the Thorson First Year Honors Program. “Students get a different way of approaching (their) problem solving and design” skills.
The Mitchell students enjoyed working with the Mines students, said Melissa Swenson, the digital teacher librarian at Mitchell.
“They felt that their voice and ideas mattered,” Swenson said. “Students feel successful, and are more likely to take risks and venture out of their comfort zone … when they have an authentic audience.”
The Mines students “liked our ideas because we’re younger,” said fourth grader Jada Call.
Her friend Hannah Holsing agreed and added, “they’re going to consider our ideas, and so they might come true.”
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