Alex Floucault, elementary skills education teacher, left, and Derek Beeston, Career Technical Centre principal, check out the contents of a portable teaching tools cart presented to Bayview Elementary School on Monday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Teaching tool cart builds opportunities for hands-on learning at Nanaimo schools

Portable tool cart will be shared between Bayview Elementary and Qwam Qwum Elementary

A portable tool cart will stay put, at least for the time being, to help children at Bayview Elementary School learn some tricks of trades.

The tool cart, presented to the school during a ceremony Monday morning, is a creation of Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ Career Technical Centre, thanks to a donation from Eddyfi Technologies, and is part of a pilot program involving Bayview and Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School.

The cart contains rechargeable power tools, measurement devices, a drill press, a vise and other tools to introduce elementary school students to hands-on learning and trades.

“The whole purpose of the cart is to continue on the new curriculum of hands-on learning – experiential learning – and it fits in to the … applied design skills [technologies] curriculum,” said Derek Beeston, Career Technical Centre principal.

The cart will augment the CTC’s Tool Box Trailer, a mobile teaching tool that visits schools, but can’t get to all the elementary schools in the the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district. Teaching carts can be built for each school or shared between a couple of schools to ensure students can get hands-on learning throughout the school year. The cart presented to Bayview Elementary will be shared with Qwam Qwum Elementary.

The cost of the cart is about $3,000 to $4,000. Beeston said the cart presented Monday was built as part of the CTC trades promotion program, but the carts can be reconfigured to serve different teaching applications and more carts will likely be constructed once the success of Monday’s pilot cart as a teaching aid is determined.

“The beauty about the cabinet itself is it can be converted into anything,” Beeston said. “It can be a robotics cart. It can be a home-ec cart with a little baking oven. It can be an arts project.”

The idea, said Beeston, who would like to see the carts in all Nanaimo-Ladysmith elementary schools, is to get kids working safely with power tools, fabricating their ideas out of wood, plastic, cardboard or whatever materials they need to to realize their ideas and help them learn how to create things from scratch, spark their imaginations, go through the design process and then improve on their designs to make their creations better.

Stephanie Stephens, Bayview Elementary School vice-principal, said hands-on experience sparks imagination and provides lifelong learning.

“It makes it exciting. It’s fun for students and for them to be able to use their imaginations fits really nicely with the revised curriculum and their core competencies,” Stephens said.

RELATED: School district will look into building its own portables

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