Hands-On Learning Grant for Child Development & Psychology

High school teacher, Julie Gohman, applied for a SSEF grant last fall and was awarded $500 to purchase additional supplies for her Child Development & Psychology class. Here is what she had to say about how the supplies have impacted her class.

With these funds that SSEF provided I was able to purchase Legos, Mega-Bloks, wooden blocks, puzzles, Lincoln Logs, Art supplies, magnetic tiles, kinetic sand, puzzles, and books about social and emotional development. When I teach a lesson about the development of children ages one to three, my students have the opportunity to learn about how wooden blocks, Lincoln Logs, and other toys help children develop their fine motor skills and learn how to play cooperatively with other children. 

When I teach a lesson about social and emotional learning, my students have the opportunity to read children’s books that help children deal with their worries, fears, and gives them tools and strategies to stay calm, develop emotional awareness, and act appropriately.

When we are learning about the intellectual development of children, my students now have the hand-on opportunities to understand how puzzles, Legos, magnetic tiles, and other toys help foster cognition and contribute to healthy brain development. 

These items, made possible by SSEF, are used throughout the course, and greatly increase the engagement and achievement of the high school students. In addition, they enjoy learning - it’s a win-win situation for everyone. As a teacher, it is so gratifying to see students engaged, motivated, and happy to be in class learning with their classmates.

Thank you for seeing the value and benefit of these hands-on learning experiences for our students, and for being willing to invest in the supplies to make it happen!

Julie Gohman
FCS Teacher


Riverview Pier Update by the Newsleaders


Photo by Mike Knaak.  Students warm up by following an excercise projected on Riverview Intermediate School's motion sensing wall.  - The Newsleaders

To read the full Newsleaders arcticle, click Here

Early Childhood Movement Matters Grant

Equipment purchased from the Movement Matters! In Early Childhood SSEF grant has helped our Early Childhood team begin to provide expanded opportunities for our preschool students to run, jump, throw, balance, scoot, and crawl as they develop essential gross motor skills.  In addition, the recently added equipment has given teachers increased flexibility to incorporate gross motor skill development into classroom centers, whole group learning, and extended group collaborative play opportunities using the newly purchased equipment.

It's Game Time!

Our Game Time challenge is over, however, you can still gather your family to race against a one minute clock.  There are ten games listed below. Each family/household/team can pick as many games/challenges as you would like to complete from the list.

Be sure to check out how some very special Sartell residents did on their game challenges! These may help you see how to play the game as well.

Supplies Needed:

One of the best things about one minute time challenged games is that they use items almost everyone already has in their home. Some of these supplies are used in more than one challenge (M&M’s and mini-marshmallows for example). In order to play the following games, you will want to make sure you have the following items on hand:


  • A timer large enough that everyone can see it (a cell phone timer will work too)

  • Notebook/paper and pen to record each game score 

  • Tape measure (optional, but may be helpful)

  • Paper plates (at least 2)

  • Tweezers

  • King size bag of Skittles or M&Ms (1)

  • Plastic straws (6)

  • Fruit Loops or Cheerios (50 pieces)

  • Mini Marshmallows (1 Bag)

  • Plastic ice cream bucket (or anything you have that is about the same size)

  • Deck of playing cards

  • Drinking glass

  • Unsharpened pencils (10)

  • Empty soda cans (6)

  • Large Rubber Bands (10-20)

  • Regular Size Solo Cups (6)

  • Penne (or tubular) pasta (8-12 pieces)

  • Uncooked spaghetti noodles (10)

  • 4x6 Index Cards (30)

Gather your family and join us for virtual challenges where you will race against a one minute clock.

1. Squeeze & Tweeze 

For this game you will need 2 plates, a bag of Skittles/M&M, and tweezers.  
Start out with candies on one plate.  The goal is to transfer as many candies, using the tweezers, to the other plate in 1 minute.   For grades 6th and higher, have the plates 12 inches apart.  For grades 5th and lower, have the plates 6 inches apart.

2. Suck it Up 

With your player sitting at a table, place two paper plates in front of them. Place 10 or more candies on one plate. Using a straw and suction from their mouth, players have to move the candies from one plate to the other. For grades 6th and higher, have the plates 12 inches apart.  For grades 5th and lower, have the plates 6 inches apart.

3. Stack ‘Em Up 
Use your bag of Fruit Loops or Cheerios to compete to see who can build the highest single stack of loops within a minute. Stack has to free stand for 5 seconds to count. 

4. Snowman Stacker Race

For this game you will need a bag of mini marshmallows. The goal is to build as many ‘snowman’ as possible in a minute. A ‘snowman’ is a stack of 3 marshmallows.

5. Card Toss 

Set up a large bowl or ice cream bucket in the center of the floor or table about 3 feet away from the player. From approximately 3 ft away, the player tosses playing cards into the container with the goal of getting the most cards in before the timer runs out.

6. Pencil Bounce 

Each player is given 10 unsharpened pencils and using the eraser side of the pencil they attempt to bounce the pencil into a glass cup standing about 3 feet away. Stop your timer right after the 10th pencil goes in!  For this activity, record the time as well.

7. Rapid Fire 

The goal is to use only a rubber band to knock down a pyramid of 6 empty soda cans. Stack 6 soda cans into a pyramid with 3 cups at the base, then 2 and 1 at the top. This stack is more stable on a kitchen table vs. the floor.  The pyramid should be about 5’ away from the area that you are shooting from. Continue to use the rubber bands over and over again until all 6 are knocked down. Stop the timer right after the 6th can has fallen over.

8. Solo Cup Toss

Set your timer for one minute. For this game you will need 6 red solo cups and a bag of marshmallows. 
On a table, arrange the red solo cups in a triangle (like a bowling pin configuration) with the cups as close together as possible.  The front cup should be 4 feet from the edge of the table.   
Each player will toss 10 marshmallows from 4 feet away and try to get the marshmallow into the cups.
Points are awarded as follows:  marshmallows that did not end up in a cup are worth zero.  Each marshmallow in the one cup in the first row is worth 1 point.  The two cups in the second row are worth 2 points.  The 2 outside cups in the third row are worth 3 points while the cup in the center of the third row is worth 4.  Tally up the points from 10 marshmallows for each player.

9. Noodling Around

Place 6 pieces of penne (tube) pasta horizontally (laying down) in a row about 2 inches apart lining them up. Player is given a spaghetti noodle and will start the game with the noodle in their mouth. When the clock starts, the player must use only the spaghetti noodle in their mouth to pick up all 6 pieces of the penne pasta before the time runs out. You are to keep each piece of penne pasta on your spaghetti noodle and move on to pick up the next one. 

10. Paper Scraper

In preparation for the game, 20 of the index cards should be folded in half to create a crease down the center. You will also need 10 flat, unbent cards. The index cards are then placed on the table next to the player. When the clock starts, the player begins to build a tower using 2 of the bent cards and 1 flat card for each story.  See the graphic below or check out the video! The player must build a 10-story tower before the minute is up in order to complete and win the challenge. For this activity, record the time as well.
If you complete the task before the 60 seconds is up, please record the time you completed the 10-story tower in.  Have fun!