Cathy Wendell and Lisa Grayshield, team teachers at Seeliger Elementary, wanted to do a project that would have an effect on their students.
It did. And it will affect all Seeliger students for years to come.
"It was absolutely effective," Grayshield said.
The class created a 5- by 8-foot topographical map out of clay that will be permanently mounted on a wall near the entrance of the school.
"It was hard to make all the pieces straight and write the words on the clay," said Steven Valdez, a third-grader who spent extra time working on the map.
The class studied the states as part of the required curriculum. Since they memorized the states in alphabetical order last year, they wanted to do something different this year.
"We wanted each state to have a name and a place in their heads," Wendell said. "We thought what better way to do it than to have them all make a piece like a puzzle, then put them all together."
Each student chose a state or cluster of states to research. They wrote a report on the state, then made the state out clay, marking major landmarks such as rivers and mountain ranges.
Taylor Quienalty, also a third-grader, said she had a special reason behind her choice.
"I chose North and South Carolina because Mrs. Grayshield is from there," she said. "Her family lives there."
Grayshield said the project was successful.
"I don't think these kids will ever forget the states that they picked," she said. "They also understand the concept of how the different states fit together within the country."
Grayshield said the class started the project in December and has been working on it diligently.
"It was a pretty major project," she said.
However, 9-year-old Stephanie Petrenko said all the hard work was worth it.
"I'm glad we worked together to make it," she said.
Petrenko said she is glad it will be on display so she can come back and see it.
"I'll be excited that it's still up there," she said. "I might bring my other friends here to show them."