Third graders at Olympia Brown Elementary School are exploring different learning avenues this December. Dr. Carlene Cogshall began the gingerbread house building and competition about 7 years ago. The event incorporates a project-based learning opportunity for students to partake in.

This holiday season staff and parents teamed up to provide students with a fun activity, regardless of the virtual learning format. The gingerbread house competition is a fun and educational project.

Project Based Learning

Gingerbread houses may seem like just a holiday activity, but the educators at Olympia Brown Elementary school make sure to include educational value. The competitions in the past have focused on subjects such as social studies and math. This year due to COVID-19, students took their creativity to a new level by focusing on persuasive writing.

Cogshall says “It is usually math based and involves designing a house using geometry and then planning/budgeting for the parts needed to build the house. However, this year with us being virtual, the gingerbread houses became a part of our writing unit. The students wrote a persuasive speech selling their gingerbread house focusing on who their audience is and the use of persuasive language, along with the components of a five-paragraph essay.”

This event usually thrives as a team effort between students. However, staff persisted in face of one of the most challenging school years.

Team Effort

It was full steam ahead for the faculty at Olympia Brown Elementary school. Managing this event was also a full collaboration with parents. Forms were distributed out to all third graders. To meet the needs of all students participating in the event, supplies and donations were collected.

“Our school secretary and advocates collected the supplies and delivered them to the students.  It was a team effort and everyone played an important role in making it successful” says Cogshall.

Parents graciously donate their time no matter if the event is in person or online. That’s what makes the unity of this event possible. Without the parents, Olympia Brown Elementary school would not be able to provide the students with this experience. 

Holiday Fun

This event happens before the winter break. It’s a great way to kick off the holidays. Check out what other schools in Racine Unified School Districts are doing by clicking here.

Since the holidays are right around the corner, click here, to find information about holiday lights. If you are in need of some last-minute gifts, check out this gift guide here. All details about different holidays can be found on the Racine County Eye Celebrations page here.


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