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Elementary students show off their skills

Of the 33 schools in attendance, a total of seven schools from Oshawa had students representing them

Noah and Adriel were among 250 students from across the region who participated in the Durham District School Boards first ever regional elementary skills competition held at Children’s Arena in Oshawa. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Students from around Durham recently flocked to the city to show off their ingenuity and technical skills.

In total, 244 Grade 4 to 8 students from 33 elementary schools within the Durham District School Board (DDSB) attended the first regional skills competition, held the Children’s Arena in Oshawa.

Included were students representing seven schools from Oshawa.

The planning team for the event was made up of nine teachers, while retirees, student volunteers and some board staff were also helping out.

Jennette Walton, DDSB’s community connected experiential learning facilitator said it was Durham’s first elementary skills regional qualifier, and there were seven different categories students could participate in.

These included construction, and tech and design for intermediate students, where they built a device which could pick up and move items with the use of hydraulics.

There was technology, design and build for Grades 4 to 6 where they built a marshmallow launcher required to hit specified targets using pulleys, gears and elastics.

There was also the robotics section with LEGO and VEX for both the junior and intermediate grades attending the event.

Speaking to The Oshawa Express, Walton said the event was going very well.

“The kids are having a lot of fun – they’re learning new skills, they’re collaborating, [there’s] lots of teamwork and excellent communication,” said Walton. “It’s been a success.”

For Walton, it was difficult to pick which of the stations was her favourite.

“[The Grade 7 and 8 station] where they build and frame a house, really is kind of a showstopper just because it’s very grand,” said Walton. “They are using one-by-two pieces of wood. Having said that, I really am a huge fan of VEX robotics.”

Walton noted board staff have been doing quite a bit of work with teachers and students this year with VEX robotics, including three separate training sessions with teachers.

“There’s been a huge excitement within our teachers and that’s translated into our schools with our students,” said Walton. “So anytime you can help a teacher learn a new skill, it is exponentially put back into the system when they share that learning with students.”

Eight teams qualified to move onto to the Skills Ontario Competition in Toronto May 6 to 8.

Oshawa’s Sherwood Public School will be competing in the Grade 7/8 LEGO mechanics category.