PHS makes puzzle treat for facility dog
Published 2:38 pm Friday, January 27, 2023
By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer
PELHAM – Pelham High School students put their engineering skills to the test as they made a treat puzzle for the facility dog, Cricket.
“Cricket joined the Pelham family last spring, and this year is her first school year working with us,” said Sarah Tarbox, Math and Engineer teacher. “Our students of all ages seem to enjoy working with Cricket. My high school students get really excited to tell me about her visits to their classrooms at the high school, and my son, who is a kindergartener at Pelham Oaks, loves seeing her when she comes to visit his school. Many of our students seem to be more at ease when Cricket is nearby.”
Tarbox said that a computer modeling program called Autodesk Inventor was used for 3D modeling to construct the puzzle.
“Students can start from the simplest shapes and construct models of just about any level of complexity,” Tarbox said. “They can combine those models into multi-part assemblies to show how the pieces work together.”
Tarbox has been teaching for nine years, in total and this is her first year with Pelham City Schools.
“I am so excited for the opportunity to grow our engineering program,” Tarbox said. “We have some exciting plans for the next few years.”
Using animals in the classroom to further develop concepts can be important for students, Tarbox said.
“To me, having animals work alongside students is important because so much of the research underpinning our modern philosophy of education lends support for the practice,” Tarbox said. “For example, Piaget and Montessori, two of the most influential individuals in the development of modern education, both believed that children construct their own knowledge and develop the ability to take and learn responsibility by direct interaction with their environment.”
Students who participated in the treat puzzle for Cricket at Pelham High School, went through a process to smooth the pieces of the puzzle and add a food-grade coating so it was safe for Cricket.
“Think of how much more powerful these learning opportunities are when a part of the environment interacts in return,” Tarbox said.
Tarbox said the recent studies have shown that the presence of animals—specifically, dogs—in the classroom leads to increases in positive attitudes toward school and learning and increased attention empathy.
More information on Cricket and Pelham High School’s projects can be found at Pelham City Schools official Facebook page Facebook.com/PelhamCitySchoolsAL.