After a full day of learning Thursday, Jan. 9, students returned for additional learning during the After School Program at Westmoor Elementary.
Now in it’s third month, the Scottsbluff Public Schools After School Program is providing students across the district with opportunities for educational enrichment beyond the classroom related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The SBPS After School Program partnered with Beyond School Bells to bring a new maker space to the After School Program. The 7-foot by 12-foot Think Make Create trailer travels to Roosevelt, Lincoln Heights, Longfellow and Westmoor on a weekly basis.
“I like how students get a hands on experience that extends beyond the classroom,” Jeremy Behnke, after school program director, said. “The activities are student-led.”
Before the program got up and running, Scottsbluff High School Skilled and Technical Sciences Career Academy students outfitted the trailer with custom shelving to hold the supplies. Once the trailer was finished, the district’s maintenance team moved the trailer around to the different elementary schools every week. There are 235 students and 25 staff members involved in the after school program in the district.
An important part of keeping the after school program a success is ensuring each school gets access to the same materials.
“We have to make sure supplies are replenished for the next school,” Crystal Johnson, Westmoor site coordinator, said.
From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Westmoor students were split into two groups where they built scribble bots or cardboard automatas.
First, second and third graders set up in the school’s cafeteria, grabbing Crayola markers, an empty yogurt container, masking tape, wires and a AA battery.
“It’s easy,” Baylor Dike said. “You have to get all the wires together to make the yogurt thing move.”
Dike worked with second grader Yazmine Coffman and kindergartner Aria Burns on the scribble bots. The three students quickly came up with a design that propelled their bot around the paper.
“I think it’s cool because it can make it move,” Coffman said.
Burns said they decided on the marker colors based on what colors they liked, but making the robot work was a challenge.
“The wire turns the yogurt thing,” she said. “It was hard.”
In the school’s lunchroom, third, fourth and fifth graders created their cardboard automata.
For fifth grader Isabella Dirks, the after school program is a super fun learning opportunity.
“Taping the saucers onto the cardboard is hard,” Dirks said. “But when it works, it spins. It’s like when you have a flag.”
For fifth grader Melissa Hallman, she enjoys how “you get to make new friends with people you may not normally hang out with.”
Next week, the trailer will travel to Roosevelt Elementary.