SUNDERLAND — When 11-year-old Sunderland Elementary School Student Tenzin Phelgay grows up, he wants to design a rocket capable of going to Mars.
For now, he’s building marble rollercoasters in the Swampfield Drive school’s gymnasium as part of “Thinking Buddies,” an innovative science program, new in this year’s curriculum, that pairs older and younger students for hands-on creative projects.
Around Phelgay, about 50 kindergartners, 4th and 6th graders, duct taped foam tubing into loops and turns, directing marbles over wooden boxes, meeting loosely defined instructions. Shouts of excitement echoed through the large room as students learned through trial and error.
“It gets kids thinking about how they’re going to make it,” Phelgay said. “I love how (Thinking Buddies) inspires people to be creative about how they make things.”