The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

December 26, 2012

Innovation Academy students hold disaster awareness fair

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Students from the University of Texas at Tyler Innovation Academy Palestine Campus hosted a Natural Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Carnival Friday.

“This PBL (Project Based Learning) experience was beneficial to our students in many ways. Not only did it demonstrate the natural connections between science, math, health and ELAR (English, Language Arts and Reading) for the students through the study of natural disasters, more importantly, it ignited a passion for giving that will last them a lifetime,” Innovation Academy Palestine Campus teacher leader Becky Rutledge said.

Guests, including friends, family and community members,  purchased tickets by donating canned food items, new toys, and/or cash. The tickets were used to participate in student-designed booths as part of the carnival.

“The student-designed booths were used to persuade the guests to donate, inform them about natural disasters, and entertain them with lots of fun,” Rutledge said. “The Natural Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Carnival was completely student developed and student managed.”

A viewing room premiered student-created documentaries focused on natural disasters. Each documentary had a different focus. Students included the science behind natural disasters, the importance of weather prediction, the history of non-profit organizations, the spread of communicable diseases due to natural disasters, as well as the development of preparedness plans.  

“The students used their research on the various topics and an application called ‘Splice’ on their iPads to put together the pieces of the documentaries such as still photos, videos, interviews, narration, sound effects, audio clips, and music,” Rutledge said. “The documentaries will be uploaded to the Innovation Academy YouTube channel in early January.”

As a result of the hundreds of guests that attended the event and donated, the Innovation Academy students were able to raise over $1,000 for the American Red Cross, collect over 75 new toys for Toys for Tots toy drive, and collect more than 300 can food items for a local food pantry.  

“Thank you to everyone who donated. We sincerely appreciate the support of our local community,” Rutledge said.