NEW HAVEN — Ozobot, Cubelets, Osmo, Meccanoid, Soccket.
If these words sound foreign to you, just ask for an explanation from students at New Haven Elementary School who attended the second annual “Techie Tuesday” this week.
All students in fifth grade, as well as some from second and fourth grades, attended the event. Organized by fifth grade math and science teacher Kira Northup, the day focused on S.T.E.M. disciplines, made up of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The event also served as the debut of the school’s designated “Makerspace.” The Makerspace is a room equipped to allow students to create, invent and learn.
Nick Northup, Technology Integration Specialist with RESA 5 in Parkersburg, spoke with the students and demonstrated some of the technology used in the adult education SPOKES programs in the state, including one in Point Pleasant. Among the items shown to the children were “Meccanoid,” a large robot that teaches computer program coding; “Makey-Makey,” which shows electric circuits and various conductors of energy; virtual reality glasses that allowed students to visit Paris; items made with a full-size 3D printer; and a Lego EV3 robot.
A favorite of the students, however, was “Soccket.” This is a soccer ball that, when kicked, produces kinetic energy. The energy turns the ball into a flashlight. It was developed for children in Third World countries, who can play with the ball by day, then use the light to do their homework at night from the energy they produced.
Students were also treated to hands-on activities that will remain in the Makerspace. Ozobots are mini-robots that follow the path drawn on paper by markers. Cubelets are building blocks that can be made into various structures and, when provided a power source, can travel, spin, and light up. 3D pens are used to create dimensional objects when drawn.
Emphasis has been placed on the S.T.E.M. core this year by Kira Northup and Lorie Grimm, who teaches second grade at the school. The two teamed up as “buddy classes” to share resources they have received. Northup was awarded two grants, one to purchase marble runs, which students build and then place marbles on to travel the pathway. The other was for a “walking classroom” system that provides lessons that students can listen to individually through earphones while walking and exercising at the same time. Grimm received a grant through the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation for “We-Do 2.0 Lego Robots” that the students built earlier in the school year.
Both Northup and Grimm, along with Principal Stacy Bissell and a group of students, showcased some of their technology equipment and skills later Tuesday evening to members of the Mason County Board of Education at their meeting. The students opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, and received certificates for their efforts.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.