Rockets to launch, inventions to invent at Arnold CLC

Wildlife, rockets and inventors make up the first week line-up at Arnold Community Learning Center’s ‘S.T.E.A.M. Through Summer’ program.

arnold audubon1

S.T.E.A.M. adds ‘art’ to the science-technology-engineering-math curriculum, and for two hours each weekday in June and July, students are exploring new ideas at Arnold Elementary School, 5000 Mike Scholl St.

“The main goal is to prevent the summer slide,” said Arnold’s CLC coordinator Dayna Krannawitter. “We want kids to be working their brains this summer, so they are ready when they open the school doors this fall.”

Students sign up, then get to pick their class for the week. The number and types of classes depend upon total enrollment that week, but range from nature, theater, music and more. All require students to become hands-on with their subject matter.

This week, one group will visit the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center to explore life in the wetlands and woods.

Another group will learn about inventors, inventions and create their own inventions using recycled materials

arnold audubon2

A third group will creat rockets, including the design, build and launch, which will happen Friday in a field nearby the school.

Arnold teachers, along with staff from community partner organizations, facilitate the classes.

At Arnold, space is still available for future classes, so parents or guardians can sign up their children in grades first through sixth by the Friday before. There is no charge for these classes. Contact Dayna Krannawitter at 402-436-1120 ext. 5 to get a class schedule and registration information.

Students mix summer and science at Elliott

In one classroom, students were learning about solids, liquids and gases by actually mixing ingredients to create solids and liquids.

elliott clc1 Later this month, students will get a hands-on view on more science projects.

And in yet another room at Elliott Elementary School, 225 S. 25th St., students were learning about careers in science.

And that’s the point of this summer school program hosted by the YMCA.

“Specifically, we see that kids are getting really excited about science and seeing science as a career,” said Kristi Chambers of the YMCA.

The morning portion of this summer program involves similar approaches of hands-on learning, though with an extra emphasis on reading.

elliott clc2

About two-thirds of these 90 students come recommended by a teacher. These students could benefit most from a month of learning key concepts in reading, math and science.

Three people – who teach at Elliott Elementary School during the year – team up with eight YMCA staff members, mostly college students.

This instructional approach is more instruction based than people might realize, Chambers said.

“I think when people hear project- or problem-based learning they have a picture in their head, and it’s probably not as intensive as what we are doing,” she said.

Project- or problem-based learning involves students using multiple steps or thoughts to solve real-world problems. It allows students to explore possible solutions on their own, sometimes through trial and error, and lets them learn about how things work.

The staff members receive specific training in the method, allowing them to share extra opportunities for students. Each project has a driving question, designed to ensure students understand the key take-aways for the lesson.

There are also social components to this program, Chamber said. Swimming lessons for the students provide a chance for these students to learn something new. If students attend school three out of four days each week, they get to go on the Friday field trip in Lincoln. At the end of the month-long program, the entire group can go to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

elliott clc3

For students to reinforce their learning to other staff at Elliott, the young learners give presentations on what they have learned, and how they want to improve their community.

A waiting list of students who want to attend remains lenghty. But current funds only allow for so many students, which is why attendance is stressed for those already in the program.