Fourth-graders Olivia Schroder and Siyea Whitelock giggled as they tapped a marshmallow, gummy bear and banana to make musical notes in the Arbor Park Intermediate School library.
The activity called Makey Makey, which uses a series of wires attached to various objects and a computer, was one of several STEAM activities Library Media Specialist Tammi Japp introduced to third-, fourth- and fifth-graders last week.
STEAM activities engage students with science, technology, engineering, arts and math and encourages them to use problem-solving skills, teamwork and creativity.
“Those are the skills kids need for the future,” Japp said.
Japp, who is wrapping up her second year at Arbor Park, purchased the equipment for the activities, which included robotics, a music lab, exploring electricity, augmented reality with iPads, straw connectors, Legos, stop motion animation, green screen technology and Makey Makey, with more than $3,200 in grants she received from the Cornhusker Motor Club Foundation, CF Industries and DonorsChoose.
“We've been working on coding this year and a lot of kids had never done coding yet before,” Japp said. “We're using block coding, which is a middle of the road coding. They've enjoyed it, so some of these things they're able to apply that.”
For the 2019-20 school year, Japp plans to set up a center in the library, which will include two activities that will be changed out periodically. The students can use the equipment independently during their library time.
“It will be self led,” Japp said.
Japp would like to use the equipment to teach classes in addition to the center, but that would require more materials.
“The goal is to get more grants that I can have two things at a time and half a class at a time working on it,” she said.
The library was buzzing with activity last week as the students moved from station to station to try the different activities.
“They've been very excited about it,” Japp said.