Allanna is a Grade Six student who has been working with a communication device since her Grade Three year. She started with a Springboard and quickly learned to navigate through the pages. As her ‘vocabulary’ grew, she was moved to a Vantage Lite in her Grade Five year. The Vantage Lite has really improved her ability to communicate what she knows and engage in conversation with peers through game playing, interviews and presentations in her classroom.
This year, Allanna’s School Support Team decided to create a project with Allanna and two of her peers for the school’s Science Fair. The goals were for Allanna to use the Vantage Lite to demonstrate her understanding of the process – the big question, materials required to complete project, and the procedure the students followed every day, to independently ‘answer’ questions from a variety of judges at the Science Fair, to present her project in front of a classroom of her peers, and to participate in a project that her classroom peers were required to do.
Allanna was keen to do this project from the beginning. Her team knew that Allanna likes to help her mom in the garden every summer and enjoys eating the ‘fruits of her labour’. Together, they picked “Growing Beans” as Allanna’s project, since they knew it would hold her attention.
Allanna eagerly helped to create a new page on her Vantage Lite. For each step in the project, a complementary icon on her Vantage Lite page was created. Since her “Growing Bean” page grew along with the Science Fair Project, Allanna was able to tell her peers and teachers about the process. Her project followed the Science Fair guidelines: building a hypothesis, listing materials, describing a procedure and making a conclusion. She and her team held “question and answer” practice sessions; Allanna was happy to be able to answer questions as to what the project was all about and fully understood that plants needed light, warmth, and water to grow. Allanna was quite disappointed at first when the plants in the cold dark room didn’t grow, but after witnessing how the plants in the light, warm room flourished, she soon understood what was happening, and looked forward to checking their progress twice a week.
Using her Vantage Lite to monitor the plants progress and practice answering specific questions developed for the Science Fair judges, prepared Allanna for the Science Fair. She proudly ‘showed off’ her communication board and the various stages of bean plant growth. The Vantage Lite was placed with the project ready for Allanna to answer questions from the Science Fair judge, Mr. Carroll, the school librarian. Mr. Carroll worked from a list of prepared questions so Allanna was familiar with the wording of the questions and could demonstrate her knowledge of the subject. She was able to answer appropriately and tell him what materials she used, her procedure, and the things plants need to grow well; light, warmth and water. Her taped session was not her best performance as the taping was done after the Science Fair and by that time, quite frankly, she was tired! Also, Allanna, like many people, really does not like having her picture taken. Despite these limitations, the video below does show Allanna’s project and how she was able to participate. Many of her peers were very interested and she was willing to ‘talk’ about her project.
Before taking her project home, Allanna assisted with creating some additional icons on her Vantage Science Fair page. These icons enabled Allanna to tell her parents and family members about Mr. Carroll asking her questions at the Science Fair and how her project earned a ribbon. This award made her heart smile.
It was a very successful project, and the school team was very proud of her. Please view the video below and help us acknowledge Allanna’s success!