image-KMES expo
Students from Kings Mountain Elementary School present their idea for a “Kindness Wall” as part of the Exhibition Expo of good ideas for a better world. Kyle Ludowitz / Review

In front of all his classmates and their parents, Kings Mountain Elementary School student Bennett Smithson presented a dollop of orange homemade modeling clay as part of his presentation, “I Wonder How to Make a Toy.” 

All you need to make it, he explained, was salt, flour, water and food coloring. 

“You can make a lot of stuff, like a snake,” Smithson said as he started rolling the dough. Then he announced he was sending the Play-Doh-like stuff to a preschool in Brazil where the kids don’t have many toys.  

“I Wonder How to Make a Toy” was one of 13 presentations at Kings Mountain Elementary School’s first Exhibition Expo. It was a chance for groups of students to share their research on kindness, sustainability and more. Each group posed a question and came up with many ways to answer it.   

The students’ creativity was on full display with scale models of sustainable housing, poster boards with kindness journals, and a wooden car one student made that would transport hurt animals to a hospital, which he also made out of wood. 

One group of students wrote stories about kindness and helping friends titled “The Bee Sting,” “Balloons” and “The Missing Book.” 

“I loved giving away the stuff we made with our friends,” student Hannah Naylor said. 

Many groups focused on how to inspire others to be kind at school and elsewhere. This involved free lemonade or giving people ideas for random acts of kindness. 

“We hope people would take the random acts of kindness and do them to spread kindness,” Addy Zontos said during her group’s presentation. 

“We have the power to change the world,” Lucy Stariha added during her part of their presentation. 

In one presentation, about sustainable housing, the group created a geometric dome made of isosceles and equilateral triangles, Madeline Martin said. It would use triple-pane glass windows, which save energy and are cheaper than air-conditioning units, and have a concrete floor. 

Then, the students did something that made their classmates and parents ooh and aah. They lifted the dome off to reveal the inside of the home with rooms and a staircase. Students near the front of the stage crowded up to peer over the stage at the model dome house. 

Once the students finished, site coordinator Debbie Silveria announced it was time to make the annual stone soup, which is based on a folk tale that illustrates the value of sharing. But before they got started, she told the group the students had done one more act of kindness. 

“The students made laminated Thanksgiving placemats to donate to Meals on Wheels to be enjoyed by seniors,” Silveria said, “and to put a smile on their faces during the holidays.”

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