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Our “small neighbors”, the elementary school students from the E-Squared program will be presenting their IIM projects this Thursday

Will Scheffel

Will Scheffel

Will Scheffel, News Editor

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E-Squared is an advanced learning program in which gifted elementary school students from grades three, four and five have the option to participate in. The program meets at Portage Central for one day of each week, and is made to service the top five percent of students in these grades.

At the end of each school year the fourth and fifth graders spend a lot of time on a research project, known as the IIM.  According to Jenny Taffee, one of the instructors, the IIM project is a semester long research project on a topic of the students choosing.

Once the students have compiled research on their topic, they write a report that shares their findings.  After writing this first report they then choose a debate topic relating to their larger, overarching topic, and write either a comparison or analysis on that topic.

“This research project was started because we recognize the importance of engaging our students in learning that is deep and long-lasting,” Taffee said.  

IIM stands for Independent Investigative Model. Taffee describes it as a “comprehensive way of teaching students how to do research on a topic of interest”.  The project is split into steps, starting with finding resources from the library and continuing until the students make a board with several writing pieces and symbols related to their topic.

The students really enjoy using a spectrum of tools, including technology, for the purpose of product creation and presentation” Taffee said.  

The students display their projects at an open-house every May, where anyone can go and view the final projects.

The biggest benefit is the pride we see in our students as they learn how to use many forms of media for the benefit of research, all while becoming better writers and sharpening their creative, artistic side,” Taffee said.

Taffee also said that the project is focused on deeper learning and

Jenny Taffee
E-Squared students using class time to work on their IIM projects.

teaching students how to manage their time.

This year, the open-house will be on Thursday, May 17 from 4:30 to 6:00.

“We know that to be successful in today’s world, students need to develop a broader set of knowledge and skills beyond academics,” Taffee said.  “IIM is a way to challenge our students to dive into learning about a topic they are passionate about, take control of their learning, all while understanding the importance of meeting deadlines as well as making improvements when necessary.”

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Our “small neighbors”, the elementary school students from the E-Squared program will be presenting their IIM projects this Thursday