As a part of the third-grade science curriculum, all students must learn about solar heat. Each year, third grade students make a solar oven using pizza boxes. At the end of last school year, they used their pizza box solar ovens to cook their own smores using the heat of the sun.
With 600 third grade students in the district, Leslie Terry, Dalton's K-12 math and science curriculum coordinator, needed to find a way to provide a pizza box for each student. Terry called Eliza Avila at Gondolier Pizza, a local Dalton restaurant, hoping that the restaurant would donate pizza boxes for the third graders project.
Terry said she asked Avila to donate as many as the restaurant could spare, and the district would cover the rest. Avila originally donated 300 boxes to the district, however, when she learned about the project's impact on students, she decided to donate even more boxes to the district.
"I explained the third graders' project," Terry said. "That night, I got a call saying that she had donated the rest of the 300 boxes we needed."
Gondolier went above and beyond, donating a total of 600 pizza boxes, enough for each third grader to have a box for their solar heat project. According to Terry, Avila's own children were students in Dalton Public Schools, and she felt that this was a way to invest in the learning of students in the district.
"Eliza really wanted to be a part of the school's learning," Terry said.
Due to the large donation of pizza boxes, each third grader, whether in-person or online, was able to participate in the project. Kids going to school in-person followed along with their teachers, while kids online were able to participate by watching a video made by teacher, Stacy Gonte.
"Dalton Public Schools did so well at making sure the kids who were virtual had the same things for learning as the kids who were face to face," Terry said.
According to Terry, the third-grade students had a blast participating in this project.
"I was able to walk around one of the schools, and the kids were so happy," Terry said. "Every once in a while, they'd peak into their boxes and get so happy about the progress of the smore."
Terry said she hopes this partnership with Gondolier can continue next year as the students continue to explore solar heat.
"I really appreciate the partnership there, and the opportunities that she gave our students," Terry said.