Neabsco and Penn Elementary students learning about land development, site plans and a drone

Classrooms at Neabsco Elementary School were filled with excitement and questions as students had the opportunity to hear from a licensed surveyor, an engineer, and a landscape architect. Jessica Barrett, gifted education teacher at Neabsco Elementary School, and Mary Beth McHugh, gifted education teacher at Penn Elementary School, brought students in their fourth and fifth grade classes together to hear from professionals at Land Design Consultants, a local land development company.

Students wanted to learn more about careers in the land development industry after hearing from professionals. They saw firsthand how a surveyor uses equipment, such as a drone, how a landscape architect uses computer applications to create 3D models out of 2D pictures, and how building plans are created.

“I learned today that it takes a lot of people and a lot of work to design buildings,” Tommy exclaimed. “Now I think I want to be an engineer because I like to imagine and create things on the computer, and the tools they use are really cool!”

As part of their year-long unit, fourth and fifth grade gifted education students have been studying architecture, physics, and advertising in the context of creating an amusement park. They have worked together since September simulating design teams as they have planned, designed, constructed, and presented projects like professionals in those fields.

“My students were really impressed by the complexity of the actual jobs and how much collaborative efforts were necessary in order to complete a work site. I loved that the engineer, Carlos, told the kids that the thing he liked about his job was that it was a challenge. He told them that having a job that presented constant challenges always gave him a puzzle to solve and that is what keeps him interested. Our kids can get frustrated when they are not immediately sure that they can ‘find the answer.’ They are accustomed to getting answers easily. This helped them know that it is okay to have productive struggle. Actually, it can be fun,” shared McHugh.