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Belgrade 4th graders build air filters for Denton after wildfire destroys part of town

Posted at 5:04 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 13:07:43-05

BELGRADE - For 4th-grade students at Story Creek elementary school, an engineering project through the help of MSU turned into a little more than a class project. They built air filters with the hope of helping people out in Denton after the devastating wildfire.

“Ms. Rapstad's brother just got done with a fire,” says 4th grader Bergen Lacey.

A life learning moment for Ms. Rapstad’s 4th-grade class, their original goal was to build air filters after spending a summer filled with smoke in Montana, but the class project then turned into a call to action after the devastating wildfire that devastated Denton.

“You guys build the filters and send them to Denton, so it was a collaborative effort,” says Amanda Rapstad, 4th-grade teacher at Story Creek Elementary.

Their inspiration was Ms. Rapstad’s brother who works as a volunteer EMT in Denton.

“Get the kids to recognize that engineers help people,” says Rapstad.

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A life learning moment for Mrs. Rapstad’s 4th-grade class, their original goal was to build air filters after spending a summer filled with smoke in Montana, but the class project then turned into a call to action after the devastating wildfire that devastated Denton.

With a partnership with MSU, the project is a part of the Looks Like Me Project,which aims to teach students that engineers do more than just build.

“It's more than just teaching reading or math or writing, I want my students to be problem solvers,” says Rapstad.

And after the fire last week these engineers sprang into action learning and even failing a couple of times along the way.

“We had to start over once or twice to get it to work, lots of testing, lots of changes,” says 4th grader, Leo Des Jardins.

As the air filters come together, the fan sucks air into the air filters trapping the dirty air inside.

“I feel like a real engineer, I feel good about myself,” says Des Jardins.

Learning and helping a community in their state.

“It makes me feel like we are accomplishing something,” says Lacey.

“In their life, they can figure out a problem and solve it; it doesn't matter how young they are,” says Rapstad.

As their project wraps up they hope to send their filters out to Denton sometime this weekend.

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