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Boys build ‘buddy benches’

Summer students Andrew Fox, Javaughn Ible and Roniel Trott learning trade skills from CAOB President, Simon Tully at a summer camp to spark interest in the construction industry. Also pictured is BEN Experimental Learning Director, Zonique James (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Boys learnt how to apply maths in a real-life setting as they built benches for their schools during a summer camp.

Children aged 9 and 10 were involved in the programme to build “buddy benches” for their schools, organised by the Bermuda Education Network and the Construction Association of Bermuda.

Andrew Fox, 9, liked using the electric drill, or impact driver.

The Heron Bay Primary School pupil said: “We were doing a bench and we had to use it to put the screws in.”

Javaughn Ible, 10, enjoyed the opportunity for hands-on learning and was proud of what the group had created.

He said: “I get to take it to school and I get to sit on it because I worked on it.”

Zonique James, the experiential learning director at BEN, said: “In our summer camp, we’ve been focusing on literacy and maths in the mornings but in the afternoons we have experiential outings.

“We thought it would be great if we saw maths in action, our camp is an all-boys camp and our theme is read, build, explore, so this tied in with the build piece.”

Seven students were selected for the scheme, which ran over three weeks with help from BCM McAlpine.

Ms James contacted Will Irvine, the CAOB executive director, and the two decided the youngsters should build “buddy benches” to be donated to their schools.

She explained that the benches would give children a place to sit if they wanted company and encourage other pupils to join them or invite them to play.

Ms James said the boys, who will start Primary Six after the holidays, enjoyed the chance to use power tools and learnt how skills with numbers were used in tasks such as measuring.

She added: “They’re understanding that what they’re doing in the classroom is not isolated, a lot of our learning around maths has application in the real world, so it’s great for them to make that connection.

“A lot of this is hands-on. They’re very curious boys.”

Simon Tully, the CAOB president, said the programme would not have been possible without BCM McAlpine and its carpentry shop.

A team from the construction company cut the wood and made a jig, which offered a framework for the children to work with.

Mr Tully said the students were “very engaged”.

He added: “It has been a fantastic learning experience.

“We are trying to get young people more interested in the trades — giving them hands-on stuff rather than just talking to them about it.”

Ms James added that the BEN supported the drive to increase the number of students seeking careers in construction and she hoped that there would be more opportunities to work with the CAOB in the future.