Throwback Thursday: ‘The Bremen Project’ a hit with students

Lori Nykiel’s third-grade class at BEMS created a 3D map of Bremen as part of a lesson on their town. Nykiel is pictured with her students: Christina Prawat, Eric Starke, Clay Sterling, Steven Muthart, Giovanni Escalante, Cody Hunter, Courtney Miller, Kylie Philips, Kayleen Stahly, Katelyn Aguayo, Emily Molden, Jessica Gall, Mildred Almendarez, Jared Dills, Blake Becker, Sullivan Hubert, Ryker Hand, Cody Anderson, Shaelyn Atkins, Jesus Garcia and Maelyn Stoller.
Staff report
Staff Writer

Nine years ago this week, this feature story about an interactive class project at BEMS appeared in The Bremen Enquirer.

Students in Lori Nykiel’s third-grade class at Bremen Elementary-Middle School know a lot about their hometown after completing what Nykiel calls “The Bremen Project.”

The social studies unit included a brainstorming session, a guest speaker from Historic Bremen and a tour of the Bremen Town Hall. But it was the final project – a 3D map of the town featuring pint-sized models of actual Bremen landmarks and businesses – that the kids most enjoyed.

“I was happy with the quality of the work that everyone did and how much they like it,” Nykiel said.

There’s a small post office, a small hospital and lots of other buildings that kids recognize, such as Pizza Hut, Quick Video, the Town Hall, Woodie’s Supermarket, the Wooden Peel and the library.

The only building not part of the display is the school!

“It’s right here in this spot,” said Blake Becker, 8, who pointed out where the school is on the mapped area.

A brainstorming session by the class produced quite a lengthy list of businesses and services provided in Bremen.

“We talked about it in the classroom and brainstormed the whole idea. We had the chalkboard covered!” Nykiel said.

Nykiel’s mother, retired teacher Emilie Huffman, came in and helped mark all the streets on colored green paper that they placed on around six student desks that were pushed together to form the town. For the project, each student chose a building which they studied and reported on and then created out of a milk carton.

“Some of the students took pictures, some interviewed people who worked at their location and visited,” said Nykiel, who pointed out the reports hanging from the classroom ceiling, each with a child’s name.

Becker now knows that Woodie’s opened in 1946 and is the only grocery store in town.

“It’s the only one in the WORLD!” he said, excitedly.

He noted that his favorite item inside the local grocery store.

“Chocolate candy, the Hershey bars!”

Sullivan Hubert, 8, enjoyed making a model of the Downtown’r, where his grandma Betty Richards works. He stressed the importance of being careful when cutting the top off a milk carton. He doesn’t really have a favorite item on the menu at the Downtown’r, though.

“Everything is good,” he said.

Another highlight of the educational unit was a classroom visit from Sandy Krost, a representative from Historic Bremen, who discussed the history of the town and what it was like to live here long ago. Since Bremen is known for its mint farming past, Krost brought along a miniature mint farm. And, to make it even more interesting, she brought in sprigs of mint for every student to take home with them.

During the walking field trip to the Bremen Town Hall, Town Manager Dwaine Elliott took the class on a tour and explained what is done in a town municipal building.

The hardest part of the project may have been constructing the models.

“Gluing the bricks on was hard, but worth it,” said Emily Molden, who made a model of Salem United Methodist Church.

The kids enjoyed the project and are still happily playing with it in the classroom.

“It’s fun to play with!” said Cody Hunter, 8.