Ponte Vedra Beach resident teaches students through STEM project to help Latin American children learn English


Shannon Johnson, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident and Jacksonville Country Day School teacher, recently challenged her fourth-grade students to create inventions that can be used to help Latin American children learn English.

As part of a class on innovation, the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project prompted Johnson’s students to work in the school’s science lab and “makerspace” to design and create games, videos, 3D printed items, robots, animals made from recycled materials and websites. One specific team of students invented a Pac-Man toy that translates English via the use of headphones.

“This challenge helped to improve their problem-solving and teamwork skills, in addition to their pride in knowing that they can turn an idea into reality,” Johnson said.

After creating their inventions, the students shared their projects with parents, siblings, other students, teachers and administrators. During their presentations, they discussed the challenges they had to overcome in realizing their working models.

Throughout the project, Johnson’s students learned how to manage resources, compromise and work on a team. Photos courtesy of Jacksonville Country Day School