Students recreate life in a (really) small town

Heidi Abresch built her own Murphy's Grill franchise because she loves the BLTs. Cassie Taylor likes pools, so she built a new aquatic center.

DALLAS -- Heidi Abresch built her own Murphy's Grill franchise because she loves the BLTs. Cassie Taylor likes pools, so she built a new aquatic center.

In fact, Janet Hunsucker's entire first-grade class at Faith Christian School turned to construction. The goal: create a miniature model of Dallas. Students chose a building in Dallas and found a way to rebuild and display it in the classroom.

Samuel Givens, whose father works at Tyco, made a model of the circuit board manufacturer out of circuit boards. Missy Vance brought a recycled theme to her Burger King, using a recycling box and old juice container to complement her fast-food employee dolls.

Hunsucker has been re-creating Dallas for three years now. "First-graders need to know their community," Hunsucker said. After reading that the best way to know your town is to build it, she took the idea to her class.

"We go to the nursing home all the time," Hunsucker explained. Mini-Dallas is "another way to get students involved the community."

In choosing their buildings, students took into account more than just impressive architecture. Jacob Spaeth picked the Fox Theatre. "The only part of the building I like is the screen," Spaeth said. "The screen and the movies."

Charlie Engelfried built the Polk County Courthouse, using a milk carton as the clock tower. "I thought it would be the easiest building to make," Englefried explained, "but it ended up being the hardest."

Many students modeled their structures after their parents' workplaces. Zachary Johnson built an ambulance service building like the one his mother has worked at, at her urging. "My mom wanted me to really bad," Fisher said. "Actually, she begged me."

Overall, the students' selections reflect their affections, whether that means sandwiches or their parents. The result, on display in Hunsucker's classroom, reflects a child's-eye view of Dallas.

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