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Welcome to our island

"A little education goes a long way, but few teachers would attempt to cram a civilization into a single classroom.The last five months have been a rollercoaster experience, says Woodward Middle School science teacher Carl Lindbloom, leaping onto a 16-square-foot model island to dislodge a lump of sediment from the small-scale pond and get the mini loop-de-loop moving.The plywood bears his weight with admirable resilience. Constructed from science lab tables onto which the school's seventh graders added mounds of dirt before beginning work on their various science projects, the island teems with life.We've got live fish and growing plants here, says Lindbloom, all operated by solar panels of energy.And the kids are equally excited at the prospect of presenting their projects to parents Monday. Gesticulating enthusiastically, Michael Hays explains that he designed and built the dam and river around which the rest of the island was sculpted, because he wanted to include live pondlife in his project. Hannah Davis says she chose the valve-operated irrigation system that would hydrate the plants of her small farm with minimum waste, in order to conserve water.Meanwhile, Emily Goldston's people-mover zooms tiny inhabitants to different small stores with surprising speed. I like malls, she says.Lindbloom accepts that his brainchild will soon meet its end in various Bainbridge dumpsters as the kids begin to dismantle their work. Fortunately, he is confident that an award for $3,000 earmarked by the Bainbridge Education Support Team for environmental projects at Woodward will contribute to the cost of next year's model village. The kids really got into it, says Lindbloom. This is definitely worthwhile.He said he is proud not only of how the projects integrate conceptually, but of how well his pupils have worked together.The kids like to show their projects off to their friends, says Lindbloom. That surprised even me."

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