WEST MILFORD "Where Do They Go?" was the theme of Learning Unlimited's third and fourth grade Project Night. Students displayed their projects at Marshall Hill School, a culmination of hard work and study completed during a six-week cycle program based upon adaptation, migration and hibernation of animals.
Students participated in various activities to foster an understanding of animal behaviors, including group projects where students created three dimensional animals with adaptations to survive in particular regions; individual studies on a particular animal of their choice including habitat, then creating an informational poster and a three dimensional version of that animal; and an essay that compared and contrasted migration and hibernation to a vacation.
The students took a trip to the Wayne Library where they learned research skills and investigated facts for their particular animal, and also traveled to the Newark Museum where they participated in two workshops, "Migration" and "Animal Behaviors."
The program coordinator, Diane Cobb, said that Learning Unlimited (also referred to as LU) is the West Milford school district's gifted and talented program. Students from all six of the districts elementary schools in grades 2 through 6 are chosen to participate in the program after being identified through ability, testing and teacher evaluations. Students are bused to Marshall Hill School from their own school once a week to partake in enrichment activities designed to encourage higher level thinking skills. According to Cobb,
Different courses of study are offered for each six-week cycle, and each cycle ends with a final project night where the students present final projects, perform, and/or instruct on the topic they have been investigating," said Cobb. "Students go on field trips, enjoy guest speakers, and participate in activities offered by traveling educational programs.
Cobb said there are seven cycles completed during the year in the LU program. The next cycle of study is "The Math and Science of Sports".
Cobb, who is retiring this year, has been in the district 31 years: nine teaching high school math, 11 teaching elementary, and 11 years with LU.
This is my last year. I love this town and these kids, she said.