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The buddy bench, the brainchild of fourth-graders at Rattlesnake Elementary, appears to be successful.

Last year, Rattlesnake Elementary fourth-grader Dimitri Govertsen-Donaldson could have used more friends at recess.

This year, he and other students have a way to let other kids know they’re looking for a playmate by sitting on the buddy bench his class made.

His parents came up with the idea for his class to build the bench after they saw a video of another boy making one in Pennsylvania, Govertsen-Donaldson said.

The premise is simple: If kids don't have others to play with during recess, they can sit on the bench and other students will know to include them.

“I kind of needed it last year and I’m glad we have it this year, because maybe that’s happening to some other kids,” Govertsen-Donaldson said.

After a grand balloon cutting last Thursday, first-graders Lindley Erickson and Mallory Newbold sat on the bench and talked.

“It’s pretty fun to just hang out and rest on it,” Erickson said from her perch in the corner of the U-shaped bench.

“If we have the bench, everybody can have a friend,” Mallory added.

Building the buddy bench was fun for the class, but also put the kids’ math, problem-solving and public-speaking skills to use, teacher Carrie Sweatland said.

Students designed the bench and used tools to help construct it, as well as created videos to help other students understand the bench’s purpose.

Hands-on application of what they learn is great for the kids, Sweatland said.

“Really, that’s what they remember,” she said.

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