Fourth grade students selling sundaes to raise funds for their Wheels of Hope project for Whirlwind Wheelchair
In fall 2012, 100 fourth grade students from Indian Ridge Elementary School in the Cherry Creek school district of metro Denver, Colorado began raising funds for Whirlwind Wheelchair International as part of a project-based learning activity. The fourth graders chose Whirlwind Wheel International because of our mission to provide independent mobility to wheelchair riders in the developing world. They particularly liked the RoughRider’s unique design, extremely effective on all-terrain, and affordability. Past projects they have supported include: One Laptop per Child, the U.S. Forest Service’s restoration efforts in a large Colorado burn area, and water wells and ready-to-use therapeutic food in Niger, used in the treatment of children suffering of malnutrition.
Donna Shepherd, a fourth grade teacher at Indian Ridge spearheading the activity, says, “I use project-based learning to teach economics, research, writing, logic, civics, social studies, etc. in an across-the-curriculum approach to learning. I find that integrating curriculum is a powerful way to make learning meaningful and relevant to students.” She has found project-based learning enrichers their learning experience. “Often students come back years later and tell me that it was one of the most important experiences that they remember from elementary school. It is also a fun way to learn.”
This year the students’ goal is to raise $20,000 through ice cream Sunday fundraisers. As of the end of January, Indian Ridge Students have raised $5,000 for Whirlwind Wheelchair.