May 10, 2010 11:12 AM by Stephanie Collins

Alamosa teacher builds a plane in her classroom for a unique lesson

Second and third graders at Boyd Elementary in Alamosa are taking a trip around the world without ever leaving school.

Using 15 king size sheets sewn together and draped over PVC pipe, art teacher Sue Patterson built a fuselage in her classroom. The idea was the result of a painting trip to France in 1996, "My administration said, yes you can go and we'll give you professional leave as long as you bring back an experience for the kids," says Patterson.

She actually thought of the idea on the plane on the flight back. Now every couple of years Patterson plans a trip for her students. They have traveled to France, Italy, Hawaii, China and this year Belize.

Complete with an in flight movie and snacks, the experience teaches kids what it's like to take an international flight, and it combines multiple subjects getting all of the teachers involved, "Kids can see how to use creativity, how to be imaginative, then you can learn social studies, English, geography and math," adds Patterson

The math comes in when students have to figure the exchange rate to buy souvenirs.

Sue Patterson was recently awarded elementary art educator of the year by the Colorado Art Education Association.


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