CommunityOne Class at a Time


One Class at a Time: CS Porter Middle School's Jim Martin

OCAT Martin
Posted at 1:21 PM, Dec 13, 2022

MISSOULA - This week's One Class at a Time grant winner is CS Porter Middle School sixth-grade English Language Arts and Social studies teacher Jim Martin.

He used the COVID-19 pandemic was a chance to re-evaluate his ways of teaching.

“I was getting more excited about teaching as we were going through the pandemic than I was less excited," explained Martin.

After reviewing what he teaches in his social studies classes, Martin found an idea that took him into his workshed.

"What if I could build something that reflected all the cultures," thought Martin. "So I tried it out, just started building a set of 12, and they responded well — it’s really great.”

Martin builds atlatls for his classroom — or ancient spear throwers — used by many different cultures in earlier eras.

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"This is a baton style, I have my handle, and up here I have a spur. Then I position my dart, where there's a notch on the back of my spear," Martin showcased. "As I throw it, it gives me an extra extension to throw a little bit farther and straighter than a typical spear would go."

Martin plans to use his $250 to purchase materials for more atlatls to build for his class collection.

MTN News asked Martin if safety was ever an issue, but Martin says that by witnessing the invention of the time firsthand, the students better understand how math, science, and geography created different versions of the ancient atlatl. atlatl.

"We have a big safety meeting ahead of time and take care of all of that, but it's such a cool thing, they [the students] respect it."

Martin hopes that by making this unit in social studies more memorable for the students, they will be more prepared to tackle complex questions in later years.