Mrs. Aparicio and her STEAM classes have started a yearly tradition of making a gingerbread town. This project all started with the K-12 Global Gingerbread Community Project. Anyone worldwide can join this project and create a replica of their community. Students research the goods and services in their community which allows them to learn about the people who help their community thrive. 

Everyone starts planning after Thanksgiving Break. First, they start by listing all the goods and services around Deerfield. Using Google Maps, the students get an overview of Deerfield and make sure they mark every good, service, and street in the community. Students take very special care to make sure that every good and service is placed in the correct location on the map.  Once they get all that done, students are ready to begin the construction phase of the project.  

Using recycled milk cartons and boxes, the students begin constructing the buildings in their community.  They use milk cartons for houses and the boxes are used for the bigger, more prominent buildings.  No one student has an assigned job.  Every class picks up where the last class stopped, so it is truly a school-wide collaborative project.  Students also add creativity to the project by adding cars, trucks and farming equipment to the layout. 

The main addition this year was LED street lights. This was done by using coin batteries, conductive tape and LED lights.  Using prior knowledge of how a circuit works, the students ran the conductive tape through the town and added batteries at specific locations. They added creativity when they made the light poles out of candy canes and added an LED light at the top. 

After they completed the Deerfield Gingerbread Town, the students had the opportunity to video call with other schools around the country. The other schools were shocked at how small our community was. Likewise, our students were surprised at how big some cities they chatted with were. They were surprised to learn that some cities had many Walmart's and McDonald’s, and many more businesses. 

Overall this is a fantastic project that highlights all the fun things the students are learning.