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Wednesday, August 12, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington Voices

Students Measure Up To Task

Bill Nuchols presides over his miniature housing development with calm.

Cardboard houses are everywhere, in various stages of completion.

For every fifth-grade builder who comes flying across the classroom with a question - “How long does it take Elmer’s glue to dry?” “Can I borrow your utility knife?” “Could you cut my stairway?” - Nuchols has a relaxed way of helping each stay on track.

Out comes Nuchols’ penknife, and he listens to Duska Anderson explain just where the opening should go for her stairs.

“Unh-uh, that’s our hallway,” she corrects him, and then, helpfully: “Don’t cut your leg open.”

She needn’t worry. Nuchols, 63, has been doing this project for he’s not sure how many years. He uses it to teach his students about measurement. Two cardboard models of his own house sit on a table at the rear of the room.

Nuchols’ fifth-grade class at Skyview Elementary School began this project after Christmas break. They measured their own homes - walls, doors, windows, decks. And on a scale of 1 centimeter to one foot, up went cardboard models of their own homes.

The kids work on their houses about half an hour a day. They enjoy it so much, Nuchols uses that time as a reward.

“If you get your work done, you can work on your house,” he said.

He points out that this hands-on learning is right in line with the state’s new essential learnings.

“This seems much more real than anything you can do out of a textbook,” Nuchols said.

Innovations pop up among these student builders. (And among their parents.)

Joseph Kyhl’s cardboard house has a living room with wall-to-wall carpet - cut directly from a leftover piece of carpeting, the same carpet used in his family’s living room.

“My dad did it,” said Kyhl, with a big grin.

One girl’s graph-paper kitchen floor had been painstakingly marked with a miniature design to look like a patterned vinyl floor.

“My mom did it,” the girl admitted.

But the discovery that really attracted attention was this: Really cool stairs could be made just by ripping off one outer layer of cardboard, so that the wiggly inner layer shows.

Presto, stairs. No cutting and gluing each individual step.

A cluster of fifth-graders surrounded Kyhl’s house. He, in turn, basked in momentary glory. Which he owed entirely to his older brother. Who built his own cardboard house in Nuchols’ class three years ago.

Spelling stars compete

The 24th annual Valley Spelling Bee is tonight at Bowdish Junior High.

Finalists include:

Matt Schroeder, ninth-grader at Bowdish; Adrienne Gore, eighth grader at Centennial Middle School; Larissa Burton, sixth-grder at East Valley Middle School; Zac Field, eighth-grader at Evergreen Junior High; Heather Kesterson, eighthgrader at Gethsemane Lutheran School; Holly Adams, sixth-grader at Grace Christian School;

Richard Haugen, seventh-grader at Greenacres Junior High; Brenda Heaton, ninth-grader at Horizon Junior High; Jay Hanley, sixth-grader at Mountain View Middle School; Catie-Rose Sherry, eighth-grader at North Pines; Brice Sodorff, sixth-grader at Spokane Christian Academy; Andrew Fuchs, seventh-grader at St. John Vianney School; Cassie Merryman, seventh-grader at St. Mary’s School; Jonathan Le, St. Paschal’s School; Casey Luport, eighth-grader at Valley Adventist School; and Silas Hilliard, eighth-grader, Valley Home Scholars.

Info on youth violence

Parents and others in the Central Valley School District are invited to an evening talk on youth violence and community issues.

Central Valley High School Resource Officer Charles Hollen will speak at 7 p.m., Feb. 11, at Blake Elementary School.

Hollen will discuss youth problems, including gang-related issues, suggestions of who concerned residents should contact, and what behavior to watch for in their own neighborhoods.

VFW essay winners

Several Valley students were winners in a recent essay contest sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1435 and Ladies Auxiliary.

Organizers have announced these first-place essay winners:

Robert McCoy, third-grader at St. Paschals.

Emily Bettinger, fourth-grader at St. Paschals.

Ian Robison, fifth-grader at Opportunity Elementary.

Amanda Coats, sixth-grader at Progress Elementary.

Matt Lidenburg, seventh-grader at Evergreen Junior High.

Brian Agee, eighth-grader at Evergreen.

Jessica Nichols, ninth-grader at North Pines Junior High.

Among high school entrants, 10th grade and beyond: these two students won:

Sarah Shryack, Central Valley High School, and Rebecca Lorang, West Valley High School.

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