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Leprechaun trap project uses "a lot of brain juice'

(ran EO edition)

Melissa Hill's third-grade classroom at Brooker Creek Elementary School became "Leprechaun Lane" last week as students showed their homemade leprechaun traps to other classes.

Hill assigned the project last month as a lesson in measurement, writing and creativity. Students were asked to create a leprechaun trap using any items they had at home.

They were asked to include a list of the materials they used and the measurements of the trap.

They also had to explain how they made the traps.

"The score will not be affected if a student doesn't catch a leprechaun," Hill said in her project directions. "In all my years of teaching, I haven't seen one of those green guys get caught yet!"

Visitors to Leprechaun Lane were greeted with a bag filled with Lucky Charms or Trix cereal, which were called "rainbow pieces."

They followed a path of shamrocks around the classroom to see the different projects.

The projects ranged from the size of a shoe box to the size of an air-conditioner box.

While most of the traps were green or gold, the similarities stopped there.

Nathaniel Perkins, 8, spray-painted a huge box green. He installed a sliding door that snapped shut, trapping the leprechaun inside.

"It took a lot of hard work _ about four hours," he said, "and a lot of quality work."

Lance Schneider, 9, turned a shoe box into the "Leprechaun Motel," with a miniature pot of gold, clay furniture and some "sticky stuff" on the bed used to trap the elf.

"It was really fun to do this project, because you can make it your own way," he said. "I used a lot of brain juice on this one."

Hill, 37, who has three children of her own, saw the project as a fun way to combine a lot of different skills.

"We always make leprechaun traps at home and I had seen the idea at another school. I adapted it to the third-grade curriculum," she said.

"It's been a great learning experience for them, and they just enjoy it so much."

_ If you have news or photos about East Lake schools, churches, businesses, neighborhood groups, community organizations or people, contact Julie Church at the North Pinellas Times. You can call her at (727) 445-4229, fax material to her at (727) 445-4206, e-mail or mail material to North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.