Cereal-box time capsules preserve predictions


January 26, 2000|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHAT DO KIDS predict for their future? Sixth-grade pupils at North Carroll Middle School have plenty to say, and their ideas are far from frivolous. They've all spent weeks researching the past millennium. They've also surfed the Web for scientific research about the future.

The millennium was split into 20-year chunks for their historical research. Working independently, the pupils discovered facts about their piece of the past. A selection of books was provided by the North Carroll branch library.

Millennium project leaders were language arts teacher Deborah Calhoun, social studies teacher Keith Purcaro, and reading teacher Carla Bell, who was inspired by a book she was reading. The school's full-time technology facilitator, Tim Hontz, helped Purcaro develop a Web page, with five sites the pupils could pursue independently.

Tricia Nyland and Willie DiLaura, science and math teachers, altered schedules for four days to permit each of the 140 pupils about three hours of independent work in the computer lab to complete their projects while not missing a bit of math or science.

Using their research, the pupils have posted a time line of their favorite facts and pictures in the sixth-grade hall, color-coded by the major topics of sports, nature, inventions, famous people and historical events.

The research was the basis for pupil-illustrated cereal boxes that include puzzles, pictures and trivia games about their two decades, along with their predictions.

Instead of cereal, the boxes hold the pupils' time capsules. Most include letters from parents, to be opened on a future birthday. Some contain cool stuff, such as Silly Putty or a timer to guide when the letters should be opened. Some contain lists of favorite things, or a letter to a pupil in the year 2020, when most of the pupils will turn 31.

Munch 'N' Crunch in the 1900s, the cereal created by Anna Carper, illustrates what surprised her about that era -- that hand mixers were invented so long ago, at the time the Panama Canal opened. On the sides of the box, she predicts a manned landing on Mars and wristwatches that include tiny cameras. She's dropped in a letter to herself that she'll open in seven years. Zachary Forbes became expert in political upheavals between 1960 and 1979, such as the assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy. He dreams of a mechanical eye so no one will be visually impaired. For himself, he figures he'll be playing college sports. He's written a letter to a child in 2020, and his parents included a letter about "how they look at me now. I'm not allowed to see it," Zachary said.

Breakfast of the Millennium, 1980-2000, the cereal of Reid Smetzer, depicts telephones merging with wristwatches and the development of bandages that encourage instant healing. His father wrote a letter to Reid, to be opened in 2006.

Flying cars were the hopes of Nick Hornberger, who found them on the Web. He drew a population chart and famous people from 1960 to 1979. In a flight of fancy, he came up with robot teachers -- although he says he doesn't think Mrs. Calhoun has seen that idea yet.

David Greenberg wrote a newspaper instead of a cereal box, discussing the culture of the period 1960 to 1980, the discoveries and the entertainment. "The Beatles impacted the history and direction of popular music," he wrote. He predicts the cloning of body parts.

Megan Kauffman dreams of a smart treadmill, one that measures height, weight and foot size, and more interestingly, will make your workout more challenging if it determines you're lagging. Her cereal box includes a spinner game and lots of pictures from the Internet showing the years 1960 through 1979.

For the same time span, Chad Lenz penciled wonderful pictures for his cereal box, showing world events including the Internet, political figures, the Civil Rights Act, the space shuttle, the Vietnam War, and the championships of the New York Jets and New York Mets in the same year.

Marina Feeser's cereal, 1950s Os, includes 3-D glasses and inventions such as Hula Hoops, which she had thought "had been around way after or way before" the 50s.

History Puffs for History Buffs is the cereal by Heidi Scherbarth, who covered her box with a trivia quiz and crossword puzzle. For her time capsule, Heidi wrote a humorous poem about celebrating the turn of the millennium. She wrote, "We all realized The Bug did not appear," about how the family played Millennium Monopoly waiting for the end of the countdown and exploded bombs they'd made from milk jugs. "I wish it came more often than every 1,000 years," she wrote.

The five teachers who teach Team 1 will be host to Celebrate Success from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 16. Parents and the public are welcome to see the time line and cereal box projects and view other exhibits pupils choose to show in the media center.

NESAP store has moved

The Community Store operated by North East Social Action Program, NESAP, has moved.

Formerly on Gill Avenue in Hampstead, next to St. John's United Methodist Church, the store is at Main and York streets in Manchester. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

A Hampstead location is open every morning for clothing donations only. The Manchester location cannot accommodate donations.

Information: 410-374-9099.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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