The fourth-graders at John Thomas School of Discovery (JTSD) have the objective of developing a unique plan to bring the internet to Ethiopia.

By Alec McChesney (Christian County Headliner News) |

Hannah Bryant’s fourth-grade students at John Thomas School of Discovery (JTSD in Nixa, Missouri) have big plans. Their plans, however, won’t stay in Nixa. Students will send their science projects to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The fourth-graders of JTSD are split into groups of two, with the objective of developing a unique plan to bring the internet to Ethiopia.

“Our goal is to teach them about the process of creating a plan and focusing on the creation of the plan,” Bryant said.

Based on the excitement and seriousness in the classroom, this is more than just a fourth-grade science project. Bryant’s students reached for the stars and created plans much more advanced than what most would consider a fourth-grade level.

Two of those students, Taylor Farr and Lyla Harskey, were a prime example, as they didn’t settle when inventing their plan. Rather, they developed a plan in which Ethiopia would use solar panels to convert the sun’s energy into energy that would allow people to access the internet.

How will they get the solar panels over to Ethiopia?

“We would first reach out to the people of Ethiopia to ensure the plan is OK with them, and then, we would use cargo planes to take the panels over the ocean,” Farr said with a bright smile on her face.

It’s not just the concept of the creative process that has Farr excited. It’s the fact that instead of just turning in her assignment to her teacher, she’ll be sending it to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

ALSO READ: Holy Trinity Computer Club Learns about Tablets Sent to Ethiopian Partner School“We are actually doing something that could potentially impact the lives of others, rather than just turning it in to our teacher,” Farr said.

Like Farr and Harskey, fellow classmates Ayda Weldon and Anistyn Stennett created a plan much more sophisticated than a typical fourth-grade project. They intend on bringing more than just the internet to Ethiopia. Their plans also include bringing more lighting and air conditioning to the country.

Using dry erase board markers on their desk, Stennett and Weldon created several graphs depicting the amount of internet Ethiopia currently has and the amount of internet it would have if the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation went through with the plan.

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