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Passionate and Proud: Duncombe TAG Students Show their Work - from The Messenger

December 17, 2021

Isaac Zalameda's Talented and Gifted presentation was pretty timely at Duncombe Elementary School on Thursday.

Zalameda, 8, a fourth-grader, presented information on natural disasters and how they impact people.

His main focus was related to earthquakes and hurricanes, but Zalameda deviated a moment to mention the strong wind storms that affected Iowans on Wednesday night.

"Last night's natural disaster caused blackouts," he said.

Zalameda created a video and a clay model for his project.

"The video and model were fun to make," he said. "I'm proud of the model I made."

A poster board was displayed at his table that listed causes and effects of the natural disasters.

"It can cost a lot of money if it destroys a lot of buildings," he said.

Zalameda is one of 16 students in Karine Feddersen's TAG class. Each student was asked to choose a topic they were interested in, research it and present.

"One of the purposes was to give students an opportunity to explore their passions," Feddersen said. "This is the first exhibit we have done."

Students had to come up with questions that couldn't be easily answered with a quick internet search. They were asked to collect information, research online using reliable sources and finally turn their work into a presentation.

They began the project in late October.

"Students worked extremely hard," Feddersen said.

She said students had to have two ways to demonstrate their learning. That often included a written and visual component.

Feddersen said the project was a chance for them to research something they wanted to.

"They have a lot of say in what they are researching," she said. "When they have choice they are a lot more excited to learn and express themselves."

Cora Stephan, 9, a third-grader, took the opportunity to explore coding.

She created a coding maze.

"It took a while," Stephan said. "The research was the hardest part."

She used a small robot that she had to code.

"The codes get confusing," Stephan said. "There's an app that goes with him. His name is Blue Bot. You can buy him online."

Blue Bot has to be coded to move in a certain direction.

One thing that surprised Stephan was how difficult it actually was.

"Coding and putting it all together is actually pretty hard and confusing," she said.

Her favorite part was seeing the robot dance.

"Getting to program him and have him do things and watching him dance," Stephan said. "He dances when he gets to a certain part of the maze and sings a little song."

Blake Hansel, 9, a third-grader, did his project on classifying animals.

"I've liked animals my whole life," Hansel said.

Lions, tigers and snakes are among his favorites.

"Lions are mammals and they live in prides," Hansel said.

He made several clay models of animals, which he said was his favorite part.

The most challenging aspect to the project was the research, he said.

One thing that surprised him was the number of different frogs that exist.

"There's 6,000 types of frogs and toads," Hansel said.

Allison Baade, 10, a fifh-grader, focused her project on recycling.

"I researched this project because I want to help out the Earth as much as I can," Baade said.

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