ROWLEY — Riding on the crest of momentum and excitement that the national show by the same name has brought to the country, Pine Grove Elementary School hopes to attract many audience members when it hosts a free "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?" show on Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the school.
Key to this event is the new SMART board recently purchased by the school through grant money from the Institute for Savings in Rowley. The SMART board functions like a typical white board, only the "smart" part of the board allows the information that is written on it to be saved on a computer. In addition, the SMART board uses touch-screen technology, making it very easy to use and interactive for the students.
For Pine Grove, this first SMART board, which will be placed in Beth Stephan's fifth-grade class, but is mobile so it can be used in any classroom at the school, is the next step in the technology upgrades initiated by the school's Hard Drive Committee, which seeks to keep current the technology at the school. More SMART boards will be purchased as funds allow and teachers request them.
Using a grant from Best Buy, the school was able to have all classrooms equipped with ceiling-mounted projectors and screens, allowing for Internet access and overhead projection lessons at any time. A $15,000 grant from the Institute for Savings won in May 2008 provides the school with $5,000 each year for the next three years. Part of this year's $5,000 helped purchase the SMART board.
"Hosting 'Are you Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader' is an great way to showcase this new technology," said Joann Anderson, Hard Drive Committee member. "We want parents to understand the uses and tools that are so important to learning here at Pine Grove. This way, when we or their children talk about the SMART board, they will have seen it in use."
The Pine Grove stage will be set up just as the popular show is — with cubbies, desks, a chalkboard and one exception: the SMART board. Stephan will run the SMART board during the evening, posting questions and answers. Fifth-grade teacher John Collyer will be the host for the show, and Kyle Campbell, physical education teacher, will be on hand to help liven up the audience with his applause-o-meter.
Four special contestants — Dave Petersen, Rowley selectman and school bus driver; Margot Lacey, assistant principal; and Debbie Blanchette and Donna Powers, school nurse and former school nurse — will each have a turn at answering questions. Groups of fifth-graders will be on stage to assist the contestants with their questions, if they are requested to do so.
Questions will range in topic and difficulty, as they will come from the Pine Grove student body in grades one through six. After the show, these questions will be submitted to the real FOX TV show, and if one of the student's questions is used on television, Pine Grove will get a free computer lab.
Admission to the event is free, and raffle tickets and concessions will be available. "In this economy, we just wanted to provide a fun family night out, as well as show off our new SMART board to parents and the community," Anderson said.
This event is sponsored by the Rowley Public Education Fund.